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.

Friday in Green Class

This morning the children designed and made their own sandwiches. This comes under the banner of Design and Technology, which may be a bit surprising… Under the 2014 (new) curriculum D&T involves using materials and tools to design something. To be considered  D&T rather than Art, it’s commonly accepted that the finished piece has a purpose, not simply to be beautiful (or interesting, etc). And that is what the children did with their sandwiches.  On Thursday the most commonly mentioned fillings were cheese, jam and cucumber. I provided white and brown bread and the children chose their own fillings. We did agree that the finished product should be neat and straight, so I suggested that this meant just one filling should be used. But I think some jam and cucumber, or other combinations found their way in-between the two pieces of bread. But that didn’t affect the overall look. The children were all thoroughly engaged and managed the materials and tools so well that, with the exception of one small piece of cheese which managed to stick to someone’s shoe, the floor was spotless. I was very impressed by Green Class’s responsible, safe approach to the session. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but of the 27 sandwiches, each was different. The children had a – very simple – picnic with their bears and they used the woven mats they had made as another D&T project with Mrs Reed on Wednesday. After play, they wrote instructions explaining how to make sandwiches. The layout of instructions can be tricky and we will write different instructions next term to practise and improve this technique. I was also impressed by the number of occasions children used the time words they had first learnt about when writing recounts before half-term.

In Maths we are continuing to learn about money, making different totals using coins of different values. The children are improving at remembering which amounts they can add with coins, eg that there is no 3p and 4p.

Play Costumes – I’m sorry if the note home has caused concern. The outfit doesn’t need to be all checked/spotty, plain shorts are fine. The overall aim is to look quite like a puppet on a string. The exact pattern or colours of the outfit don’t matter. Please ask if you have any queries.

Lost Property – Our School Councillors are shocked!

Our School Councillors have spent some of their lunchtime sorting the lost property box.

It’s overflowing with lovely body warmers, trainers, school jumpers and cardigans.

A message from our councillors – “please name your clothing and if you buy second hand clothing, remember to cross the old name out and put your child’s name in, thank you.”

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Green Class on Monday

The children have started the week by thinking about how light makes them feel, as part of our learning about festivals of light from different religions. They reflected well and came up with some original, perceptive comments, such as ” It makes me feel safe..”   and “relaxed because I am still”, as well as the more practical “It makes me feel hot.” This morning the children “bought” toys for amounts up to 10p. We were talking about how the number of coins is not the same as the value of the coins. For example, 2 coins is not automatically worth  2 pence.  This is a tricky concept to grasp and we’ll do lots more practical work with coins to work towards everyone mastering it. My guided reading group read a title from the school’s brand-new collection of guided reading books, which are a big improvement on the previous ones in terms of opportunity to discuss phonics and subject matter. The books were purchased by the PTA so a big thank you from me for all the contributions you have made. They have all added up to something very worthwhile and enjoyable to help the children’s learning. A note went home about the children’s play costume today. Please come to me with queries. I’m attaching some photos from Friday’s parents’ day.

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This week in Green Class

Thursday was a very exciting day in Green Class, with lots of teddies joining us. Thank you to the parents who were able to take the time to come in and see what typically happens in Year 1. We have some detailed descriptions of teddy bears to show for our day; and also some improved mental calculation skills. We played some dice games, which are excellent for learning and practising quickfire mental skills. Using the spotty dice helps retain the important element of magnitude in Number. Numerals are symbols and obviously are essential for recording. But real conceptual Mathematical understanding comes from seeing visual representations of Number. It comes from regular practical experience where the constant practice leads to retention of facts. Activities like this – using dice for practical/mental calculation  – is what is being called “intelligent rehearsal”. Children will acquire numerical fluency in ways like this, rather than rote learning which is a memory activity and does not aid understanding.

On Thursday we also made a “3D timeline” of the bears which were brought in. We had some fine examples of bears more than 60 years old which had the traditional shape of a long snout and limbs, with golden fur. We ordered the bears according to whether they were from  the present day, parents’ time or grandparents’ time. I will post a photo of our bear friends tomorrow.

On Friday we ended up learning about quite a lot of Science. In the morning the children described – with fantastic detail, showing very good observational skills – a bulb. We are going to watch what happens to some bulbs when they are in water, to see how they change. Last week the children labelled a tree or flower (as examples) of plants with the names of their parts. I realised that they children needed to be clear about which plants started from bulbs and which didn’t, so we will observe these bulbs to find out. I’ll post a photo next week. The children did an observational drawing of the bulb and recorded what they think will happen next.

In the afternoon the children sorted animals, in groups of four. They chose their own ways of sorting – after a discussion of “Which is the odd one out”. One of the slides is below – how many different ways of naming an odd one out can you find? The ways of sorting led to some interesting discussions. If you have chosen to sort by “stripes and not stripes” should you also have “grey” as a category? Several groups chose “number of legs” to sort by. One group chose “antennae” and “not antennae”. (I’ll need to check those animals next week – one of them in the photo may be a spider?)

On Monday a letter about costumes for the play will be sent home.

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Welcome to our newly appointed School Councillors

Last week was Election week.  We had a record number of children standing to be their class Councillor.

I’m happy to announce the following children were elected;

Purple Class – Theo and Ava

Green Class – William and Amy

Gold Class – Logan and Maisie

Silver Class – Blu and Emily B

Congratulations, I look forward to working with you.

This week in Green Class

The children are extending their understanding of adding and taking-away. Today they had to decide which operation – + or – fits in a number sentence. Eg  what should go in the gap – 3    5=8. They looked at the starting number and the final one, to decide if the group got bigger or smaller, which determines if the sum is an adding one or a taking-away one. Some children moved onto writing their own number sentence with the missing operation, for a friend to complete. They have also practised formal recording of take-away, using a variety of Maths manipulatives – Dienes, dice, beadstrings. We have done daily counting in twos. So far we have counted even numbers. We start and finish at different numbers, changing direction regularly.

The first photo shows some children practising writing digits. I introduced this as an activity for a few minutes while children are waiting for registration. I asked the children to think of a digit they found tricky to write correctly and to practise that one. The children have been fantastically responsive to this and there are comparatively few reversals in their Maths books, which is excellent for this point in the year.

We talked about Diwali, an important festival at this time of year. Anya brought in a beautiful Hindu outfit and showed it to the children. If your child has any religious or traditional artefacts or belongings related to any aspect of our learning (as on the overview) s/he is very welcome to bring it in. The children love seeing authentic items which are valuable to their friends; and the children love sharing them with the school community.

Another theme this half-term is how things change over time (History) and the children have learnt about how the teddy bear got its name. They role-played the scene where the former President of The United States, “Teddy” Roosevalt, would not shoot an encircled baby bear, when on a hunt, for “sport”. If you are coming in to join your child next Thursday please could you bring in an old bear with you – the older the better! We would like to construct a (temporary) 3D timeline of teddy bears in both classes. All bears will go home the same day.

We also use role-play area in RWI. Today in my group, one partner was the troll, practising angry, grumpy faces and saying how he was feeling and why.


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Dark and Light

As it gets lighter later and darker earlier we have been learning about dark and light, how they make us feel and the significance of light in different faiths. We have read “Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?” which gave us opportunities to talk about how dark and light make Little Bear – and the children – feel. We watched a candle burn, which made the children feel calm and peaceful. We have started to find out about the festival of Diwali and what it means to Hindus.

This morning the children used coins to practise adding 2 amounts together. Their recording of digits is becoming more and more reliably accurate, which is excellent to see.

Thank you for the  nominations for school councillors. The children will talk to the class on Wednesday afternoon; and Mrs Barwin will announce who the new Councillors are going to be at Friday morning meeting.

Home Learning books have gone home today, with new home learning sheets.

Characters, Clay and Shape in Green Class

Everyone in Green Class looked fantastic on the last day of half-term. The costumes gave us lots to write about, with the opportunity to write about the clothes and colours the children were wearing. Lots of children included ? and !, reflecting a great approach to following the steps to success and having a go at something we will practise more as the year progresses.

We have been following up our learning from Highfield by talking about how to identify leaves, and distinguish them from each other. On Friday we concentrated on oak, beech and holly, all of which we saw on our walk on Monday. The children have learnt that leaves have veins; and that a beech leaf has a simple shape, a holly has points and an oak leaf is lobed. They used clay to make the different leaves, using the tools to make the shapes and, hopefully, by creating the shapes, will remember the terms and types of leaves well. I’m sorry there is only one photo of the clay-making: I was hoping to have more.

We focussed on 2D shapes at the end of this half-term and will do some more when we return. Over the half-term you could see which shapes your children can spot when the are out and about. The key skill is to know how many sides the different shapes have. Extension can be if one window has 4 straight sides, how many sides would 2, 3 or 4 windows have?

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Highfield Walk

We all had an interesting, exciting trip to Highfield Park today. Our learning aims included learning to identify trees from their leaves and berries/nuts; and finding signs of autumn. Thanks to all the lovely parent volunteers who came, the children were in small groups which makes the experience more productive for the children. They all followed the instructions and safety rules very well and Green Class has a wonderful collection of “autumnal nature” to sort and label over the next couple of days.

At Highfield the children did 4 activties:

go round the maze

make leaf and bark rubbings

find specific trees, on a spotter’s list

collect interesting, autumnal objects

There was some great teamwork, with one group making a bird from things they collected. The maze is much more of a maze than some of us remember from a few years ago. Can the children remember what is it made from? We saw red, black and purple berries, ivy, holly, a big patch of fungus, apples and pears – rotten and not – on and off trees. It was difficult to find many acorns at some oak trees – due to a disease which is restricting the number of acorns this year? – and the children found sweet chestnuts, as distinct from horse chestnuts.

Thank you again to the helpers who gave up their morning, also at the awkward time of half ten. The children have started speaking and listening, using photos from the trip, as preparation for writing a recount. I think we will all sleep well tonight – I speak for myself,  at least!

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Also, we still have our autumn table, if anyone has anything interesting to add to it.

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