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.

Mrs Foulds

Green Class Teacher

Mrs De Vynck

Purple Class Teacher

We have two year 1 classes. Children in these classes are developing their skills and building on the learning from Foundation Stage. When the children are ready, usually by October half term, the learning becomes based on the Key Stage One National Curriculum Programmes of Study. We still believe that children learn best when the ‘subjects’ are linked in a meaningful way and then basic skills are taught for a real purpose. We encourage the children to take ownership of their learning, ask questions and have a say in the planning process. We hope to motivate all children by taking account of their needs, strengths and interests and provide rich experiences and learning opportunities which will continue to excite them.

wc 30th January in Year 1

Children in Purple and Green Classes are really into the stride of “learning the year 1 way” now; and i’ts great to see them following routines and learning independently, with partners, so much better as they year goes on, We are nearly halfway through this academic year!

In Maths the children have been using calculation methods – NOT counting on and counting back! – to add and subtract. The week ended with solving word problems, including deciding whether the operation required is addition or subtraction, itself a thought process which requires good number sense and true Mathematical understanding.

In Green Class, I had a chat to the children about the importance of mastering thoroughly number bonds within and to 10 – ie the sheets which were sent home and the start of this half-term (with more to follow after the half-term holiday. The necessity for being able to have the answers to these equations at your fingertips was demonstrated in Thursday’s Maths session. The equation which needed answering was 12 + 4 =      (though it could just have easily been a subtraction equation such as 16 – 4 =        ). I asked the children which number fact they could use to help them and after a lot of thought a child said 2 + 4 = 6. Then you add the ten in 12 and the answer is 16. The more children practise the bonds within ten the better they can answer problems using two, three or more digit numbers. Please do practise these bonds regularly with your children as it’s probably the single most useful thing you can do to help their progression in learning, after reading. Thank you.

A very important focus in education just now is the concept of “mastery” – knowing a subject really well, with depth, so you can talk about it from many different viewpoints, with correct language, confidence and accuracy. Achieving this requires effort, tenacity and determination. I was at a presentation last week where some quotes were shared and I thought I’d share some with you, to try and explain what learning behaviours the children should demonstrate to develop mastery. It’s not about being born with a certain amount of “cleverness” and using with it, but developing skills to develop mastery. These are not new ideas, as these quotes show…

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” – by Michelangelo (1475 – 1654)

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

And this may be my favourite –

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” –   Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

Mrs Munsey was in Green Class on Friday, so sadly I did not see how the Perform Drama session went. I have heard that all the children in year 1 enjoyed it and I should be able to post some photos on Monday. Both classes have continued with developing the dance based on “Where The Wild Things Are”  and their movement is becoming more fluid and co-ordinated. Friday’s writing was an alternative ending to the story and I have read some very thoughtful story endings in the books.

In Geography, we have been learning about how the subject is about places. The children looked at lots of different photos from all over the world and used good geographical words – desert, sea, surf, volcano, city, for example – to describe what was on them. We used the technique “I look, I see, I wonder” to unpick what exactly the scenes were and using our imagination to see what might be actually happening. We have some more thinking to develop about what Geography really includes. We will do more of this on our local area walk on Wednesday. We will use technical words to describe what we see in the area.

The theme of instructions and direction are important ones in year 1 – left, right, backwards, forwards, how many? – and these are continued to be explored in Computing. Next week we should conclude the current topic with the children using instructions – or algorithms to make the bee-bots travel, hopefully to the intended location!

Both classes have Book Club (guided reading) at least twice a week. We have an extensive collection of new, interesting books the children love reading. These are important sessions to see how well the children understand the text (comprehension) and to model and practise reading with good expression and intonation. It’s important to note that non-fiction books also need to be read with good pace and cadence, resulting in good intonation – to show that the reader understands what they are reading and to make the listener enjoys listening to the information!

The children’s handwriting, as a whole, is progressing well, with their script becoming smaller,  more regularly formed and more ascenders and descenders correctly shown. The next step for many children is to start using the joins learnt – not the ones which we haven’t practised! – in daily writing in topic books.

The weather for Wednesday is currently forecast to be similar to today (Sunday) – so cool/chilly and overcast, which could well mean damp. Please make sure the children have their normal coats, gloves and hats as we’ll spend about an hour in the afternoon walking round the area close to school.

Hope everyone has had a relaxing weekend and that all the bugs and coughs are going away – there are some nastily persistent viruses around just now. Look forward to seeing you all for one week before the half-term week’s holiday.


Sainsbury Vouchers

The vouchers have started to trickle in. Thank you very much for your contributions so far. I spoke to Sainsburys at London Colney today. You should be given the  coloured, individual vouchers at staffed tills, but the “till receipt” type vouchers from the self-checkouts. If these are not dispensed at the self-checkout tills then you can ask an available assistant, or at customer services. Thank you for your support.

W/c 23.1.17 in Year 1

This week we completed the unit learning on time. We will continue to practise the skills during Maths Meetings and the children can be good at pointing out o’clock and half-past times on the classroom clock. There’s a lot you can do at home to reinforce time skills – understanding when things happen, in at typical day. Eg at 4 o’clock you wouldn’t be having breakfast. The game on purple mash under “to dos” is a good way to practise drawing times on clocks, which is a key year 1 objective. Understanding what the time would have been one hour ago, or what it will be in half-an-hour’s time, or what it was half-an-hour ago, etc, are good examples of taking learning “deeper, not higher” and it’s these types of questions you could practise with your children, rather than moving onto quarter to and quarter past.

We have read “Where the Wild Things Are” many times this week, so the children become familiar with every word and aspect of it. As Mrs Fernandes explained at the reading meetings, reading with good expression and intonation is an essential year 1 skill, as well as decoding. The children can develop these skills when they read a picture book with which they are very familiar. The children drew a storyboard of the story and on Friday retold it, in their own words. In green class they remembered lots of detail and have  increased their vocabulary through the story.

Mrs Reed, in green and Mrs Lyal, in purple, are working on moving pictures based on the story. The children have been planning what they will make, and looking at examples of books with moving parts – flaps, sliding parts, etc. If you have some books like this at home you could look at them with your children to understand how they work.

In PE we are transferring jumps and rolls to the apparatus and starting to create a simple sequence. Maybe you could practise a log roll or star jump with your son or daughter!

The children certainly looked wacky on Friday, with lots of interesting hair styles. Thank you for the contributions to the school, which will certainly go to good use.

If any parents in green class are able to help with our local area walk on 8th February, please could you let me know. Currently, two parents have kindly volunteered, but we need more adults than that to make sure we have a legal child/adult ratio. Thank you very much.

PSHE – Circle Time in Green Class

This week the children practised their co-operation skills by playing a game we have played before and which they improved at. We had to get a hoop all the way round a circle of the children while holding hands the whole time. We managed to do it but, more importantly, the children were encouraging and supportive of each other – “Well done” and “You can do it” were the sort of phrases they spontaneously used to encourage each other, which was fantastic. We also discussed how an activity like this needs perseverance, which means keeping on going until a task is finished even if it’s tricky.

Sainsbury’s Active Kids – please help!

ak_voucherYes, it’s that’s time of year when Sainsbury’s start giving away the Active Kids vouchers. We collect these and, at the end of June, choose items from their Active Kids catalogue, to refresh and replenish our PE supplies. These  are used for PE sessions and also outdoor, purposeful play at lunchtimes. This will be the only source of revenue for our PE equipment and every voucher goes towards getting better and newer kit for our children.  The pupils at school love good PE lessons and, as we all want to give our children the best we can, it’s essential to keep our equipment in good condition – and also make sure that there is always enough for a whole class to use. The vouchers are also used to buy resources for the children in Reception who love spending time outside and need lots of good-quality equipment to do so.

This year we would love to replace our “shape mats”. As you can see from this picture, they are in a woeful state – “manky” was the word one year one girl used to describe them, and I have to agree. The children are posing showing how they feel about the mats now, and how they


mat1mat2would feel if they had some nice new mats!  Needless to say, purchasing 36 of these requires a lot of vouchers – 12,210 to be precise. And if we did get enough for these, there are plenty of other things we could do with. As I have found out at home, it seems that you can never have too many balls of all shapes, sizes and toughness, for children! – as an example…

Whenever you are in Sainsbury’s, please could you ask for the vouchers and your children can take them to the box in the hall every morning. Please ask your relatives who don’t have a school to donate to to please keep them for us. Thank you very much for your support. It is very much appreciated.

w/c 16th January in Year 1

During the second week of this (short)  half-term, we’ve been developing the themes started last week. The children have continued to explore “Where The Wild Things Are” in Dance and English, when yesterday they described the setting of the forest in the story. They made “twisty trees” from brown paper, to meet the D&T objective of experiencing how to make a material stronger. We are continuing to learn about materials – naming different day-to-day materials (paper, metal, glass, wood, wool, plastic, fabric) and discuss their different properties. In year 1, the  children thoroughly explore the properties of hard/soft, rough/smooth, rigid/flexible, strong/weak (brittle), shiny/dull, discussing how they know that a material is, for example, smooth and not soft; and considering how they know an object is made of glass and not metal, for instance. In Music, Mr Bainbridge has been doing “call and response” with different patterns played on our djembe drums. The children have been learning how to tap out their names, drumming the right number of syllables, with the right rhythm. In Maths the children are learning about all aspects of time and measuring time. Our daily Maths Meetings means that they already have a  very good understanding of the order of months of the year, so the session on this was a small step in learning for them. Similarly, the children can generally read time to the hour and half-hour and so are ready to read and record times to the hour and half-hour. If you have the opportunity, this could be a good time to do the purple mash time activity on the home learning sheet. The children have found Geography very absorbing and shown great enthusiasm in understanding what a bird’s eye view is and drawing their own plan map of green class. This ties in well with the Computing learning of directional language and algorithms (instructions), a topic we are also studying in Maths when we ask the children to make full and half-turns anti-clockwise or clockwise.

The frosty weather has made for some fresh playtimes and some beautiful views of the field. The children love going outside all wrapped .up and I’m thinking of getting a pair of the popular earmuffs myself! This week a few children brought in things relevant to our learning, including a couple of coins (one of the topics in Maths Meeting) and a contribution of a little parcel for the role play area in green class. It’s wonderful to have these relevant things in class. The children love sharing them, and it makes the learning that little bit more relevant and interesting for all of them.

Related to that, the children are very welcome to bring in any outfits or equipment related to any group to which they belong to, as part of the RE topic of “Belonging”. This could be, for example, clothes or membership information for a club like swimming or football, or objects related to their faith. Specifically, Mr Lyal will be talking about how children are welcomed into Christianity and if any child would like to bring in their Baptismal candle, or photos of their Baptism, they are very welcome. Also, we welcome parents coming to share information about their faith.

Thank you for helping your children continue to spell days of the week at home.We can’t emphasise enough the importance of regular reading, and would encourage you to attend one of the reading sessions Mrs Fernandes will be running –    on Tuesday 24th January at 6pm, Thursday 26th at 2.30pm and Friday 29th at 9am.  These will provide information on the national expectations of children’s reading and how we deliver this at school. In addition to decoding, reading fluently and with good intonation are key.

Look forward to seeing you all again on Monday and enjoy this chilly weekend.



Local area walk

On 8th February, Year 1 children will explore the local area. A note will be coming home about it today. If you are able to accompany a small group, we would be very grateful. Please could you let your teacher know if you are able to do so by Friday 3rd February. The walk will take about one hour, from 1.15 on the Wednesday. Thank you.

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