Kittiwake's Blog

Friday 10th January

What a great first week back we have had! The children have settled back in very well after the holiday, and were all very keen to tell each other all about what they had been up to.

As explained in the curriculum letter, the children were all assessed using the relevant RWI system at the end of term, and have been grouped for phonics according to the outcomes of those assessments. Further assessments will take place at the end of this half term. For some children, this will mean that you will see a repeat of some of their reading books in book bags. The idea of this is to consolidate learning to make sure it is well secured before moving on to new material. Where possible, we will supplement these books with those from other schemes that match the children’s phonic knowledge.

We have made a start this week on our new Talk for Writing text, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, beginning with a group enactment of the story, complete with troll and Billy Goats played by the Early Years team! The children are all engaging will with this familiar tale, and you can support them in their learning by sharing other traditional stories with them and talking about the sorts of characters and language in those stories.

This week we have also launched our Dinosaurs topic, and talked about ‘New Year’ and looked at how the calendar works. The children are currently very interested in the months of the year, so looking at dates and calendars would also be another really relevant way to support their learning at the moment.

In Maths, we have begun looking more closely at some of the representations of addition that the children will encounter throughout the school in their Maths learning. We have been using a set of small dinosaurs to practice adding using part-whole models and 5 frames. If you would like more information about these methods please do pop in and see me.
 
Friday 6th December

This week we have finished off our focus on the book Owl Babies in style, with a fantastic trip to the Screech Owl Sanctuary. The children spent time looking for a selection of the animals at the park during the morning, and then we were treated to some close encounters with the owls. The trip finished with a flying show, which we were able to enjoy outside in beautiful sunshine. The children were all brilliant, remembering all of the things we had discussed in class about how to have a ‘safe and happy’ day out. Below are just a few of the pictures from the trip, and there are plenty more to be found on Tapestry. Thank you so much to all of the parent helpers who joined us on the day; without all of you we would not be able to enjoy these special days out.

Also this week, the children have begun to prepare for the special ‘Christmas Cracker’ event on Monday 16th December. We hope that many of you will be able to join us for this fun and interactive Christmas celebration with our Early Years children.

We have now completed this term’s formal Read Write Inc group sessions, and will now be assessing the children to make sure they are in the appropriate learning group going forward. I will continue to deliver daily Phonics sessions in class, and we will be sending home a variety of reading books that are linked to the children’s progress from now until the end of term.

In our maths learning, we are focusing on ‘time’, sequencing and ordering events and looking at how calendars work. Sometimes the children can find the terms ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’, and ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ a bit confusing, so you can support them at this stage by supporting them with these concepts. Some of them have also been really interested in sorting and counting using coins this week, so any simple activities along these lines would also be great.

Have a lovely weekend!
Friday 29th November

Thank you so much to all of you who came along to enjoy the tree decorating assembly yesterday morning. The tree in the school hall is now looking beautiful, and the children did a great job participating in the assembly.

This week we have been enjoying making some 'texture collages' in class, using a range of different materials and talking about the different textures. The finished items will shortly appear in our cloakroom area for you to enjoy.

We have continued with our Read Write Inc learning this week, and the children have also been having a go at some story telling, using some of the story language that they have learned during the term. I will be posting these on Tapestry for you to enjoy. The ability to tell stories orally is a vital building block for the children's writing skills, and I have been very impressed with the way that they are developing their vocabulary and language skills.

Our maths activities have continued to focus on representing ideas of addition and subtraction, and the children have been very engaged in creating concrete representations of this (using the small maths manipulatives we have in class). Some of them have also attempted to begin to make written representations of addition and subtraction, which is great. Whenever the children do this, it's so important to go back with them to revisit making a concrete representation to check for understanding. This can also be an opportunity to pose a reasoning type problem for them to work through (eg Is it true that every time we add 1, we move forward 1 hop on the numberline? Can you show me?).

Our next big event is the visit to the Owl Sanctuary on Wednesday the 4th... I wonder how many of the children are counting the 'sleeps' till the trip...?
Friday 22nd November

The children have all continued to be amazingly busy at school over the last few weeks, and I am so pleased with their progress and their enthusiasm for their learning. Our classroom and outdoor area is always full of lots of happy, busy learners!

This week we have been making owls using paper plates and various textured printing tools. These are now in flight around the classroom, and are helping us to feel the excitement ahead of our trip to the Owl Sanctuary on the 4th December. Thank you so much to all those parents who have offered to help with the trip. I will be in touch during next week to finalise plans and confirm with parent helpers. The children are so excited, and I am getting asked most days ‘is the trip today?’!

We have been widening the view on our study of animals a little bit this week, and have been looking at pictures of a range of animals. We have been sorting them by features, drawing the children’s attention to where the animals live (land/water) and whether they are furry, scaly or feathery. The children have been making some fantastic observational drawings of some of the animals, carefully choosing colours which are realistic.

Our Read Write Inc groups continue to make excellent progress, and the children are doing a great job developing their accurate letter formation and blending for reading. We are also seeing more and more attempts at independent writing using their developing phonic knowledge. It’s great to be able to celebrate all of these attempts, no matter how small, as it all helps the children to gain confidence in using their new skills.

Maths continues to focus on the concepts of more and less, and we are always encouraging the children to try to answer the question ‘How did you know?’. Using mathematical language to explain their thinking, alongside a wide range of representations of numbers, is an important way for the children to develop their mastery in maths. Any opportunities you can get for counting and comparing numbers will be a great support to your child, and asking the question ‘what would be 1 more? Or 1 less?’ will help them to develop fluency in their understanding of number.

One other thing to mention is that we have been using some great e-safety resources in class from thinkuknow. There is a short series of animations aimed at children aged 4-7, called ‘Jessie and Friends’. We have been watching the first of these episodes in class, and discussing the message that if anything makes the children feel unhappy while they are watching anything online, they must tell a trusted adult immediately. This first episode is ideally pitched for the children at this point, and we will continue to follow up on Episode 1 over the coming weeks, learning the very catchy song that is part of it. The following episodes are aimed at slightly older children (5-7), so I will not be showing those in class at this time, but all 3 episodes are available for parents to view via https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ , following the parent/carer link. The children have really enjoyed watching Episode 1, and I’m sure they’d love to see it again with you at home!
Friday 8th November

Wow- time is passing so quickly, and it’s hard to believe that two weeks have already gone by since we came back from half term!

The children have made a fantastic beginning to learning our new class text, Owl Babies. We have devised some actions for the story, and this week we have made a story map to help us to remember the text for re-telling the story. There are a range of activities around the room to support the children’s learning of this text, including an owl’s nest in our role play corner, and a range of books that support our learning about owls. We have also watched a clip about other nocturnal animals, and the children are very curious to learn about all of these animals, their houses, and what they eat.

Alongside this, we are continuing to work hard with our phonics learning through Read Write Inc. This half term we are consolidating our knowledge of Set 1 Sounds, and beginning to put blending skills to work by reading a range of texts. I am so pleased with the way the children are engaging with their learning through these sessions- they are all so keen every day to practise their reading and writing.

In maths we have been doing some work around initial skills and accurate language to comparing groups. The children have been accessing a range of activities in which they have developed their use of the terms ‘fewer’, ‘equal to’ and ‘more’. If you would like any more information about the way that we are approaching maths in class, please do pop in and see me.

This week we have also been busy making firework paintings which are now displayed around the classroom. I’m sure the children would love to explain to you the unusual way that we used paint to create these paintings!

See you all next week!
Friday 18th October

What a busy week we had in Kittiwakes this week. The children all did really well coping with the changes in our routine on Monday and Thursday, and I hope they have come home full of exciting stories about what they have been doing.

The visit from Daya was a real treat on Monday, and there are some pictures on Tapestry of the children enjoying the variety of activities that were included in the day. Several of you have asked for the recipes for the potato curry and chapattis that Daya made with the children, so I will add those below for you.

On Thursday we performed our Going on a Bear Hunt for some of the parents and family members that were able to come in to watch. The children did a fantastic job, and I'm sure you were all very proud of them. They then came in to the hall for our Harvest assembly, and did a great job with their singing and handing over of their donations for the Penryn and Falmouth foodbank. To make sure that they were able to carry things in safely, we gave each child just 1 or 2 items to carry, but please be assured that all of the generous donations received will be taken to the foodbank during the half term break.

I hope you all have a lovely relaxing week!