Blog week ending 27th November


*We have noticed lots of parents/grandparents of Pear class children using the staff car park as an entrance way to Pear class. Please use the path and do not cross via the car park even if the gate is open. I would also remind you that any collections for the Friends of Swansfield need to be handed in to the office not via Pear class. Thank you!

We have reached the end of yet another action packed week!

We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog and it is fantastic that the children have been working on their sounds and red words at home as well as utilising the different skills they have acquired in reception.

In our Read Write inc work we are now down to one last sound to learn from set one and then it will be Fred talk galore as we begin to not only blend, but write our cvc words using all of set one sounds. Here are our sounds for this week:

qu = Round her head, up past her earring, down her hair,and flick

X = Down the arm and leg, repeat the other side.

ng  = thing on a string (a long nasal sound at the back of your throat!)

Down Nobby, over his net, around the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl.

You will now see that there is a folder available with home learning materials for you to print (or copy) and use at home for the children to practise any learning we have introduced at school. Remember little and often - our inputs are never longer than 15 minutes and we wouldn’t expect reception children to sit still for long periods of time.Try to make home learning as fun as possible - red word hunts in the garden, drawing sounds on coloured ball pool balls to use in the bath and using the children’s favourite toys such as dinosaurs to complete maths jobs, will ensure that children are engaged! We hope you enjoy the video from Mrs Grimes as she shares our next steps as we begin our journey into reading and writing. 

In our number work, number 9 has been our focus for the week.  We have learnt to form this number and count out irregular shapes to check if they are equal to 9. This was trickier than it sounds - even for our confident counters. When children see objects or numbers in a set out of context, they can often miscount. We then moved on from this work to focus heavily on numbers ‘less’ than. We find that if asked what is one less than 5, many children will still answer six, so we have worked on jumping backwards on the number line again but also explaining why to our partners. Why is five less than six? Can you explain that five comes before six on the number line and that it is a smaller amount than six, with fewer objects in its set? If you feel that your child is confident with more and less, by all means use larger numbers such as teen numbers, but remember that ensuring depth of understanding is the children being able to tell you how they reached their answer, not just what the answer is.

Moving on from our studies on hibernation last week, we have been investigating nocturnal and diurnal animals. The children enjoyed finding out all about the wealth of  different nocturnal animals that can be found in the environment close to us. We sorted animals into groups of nocturnal and diurnal, but found that the cat was a confusing one for us, as many of us have seen our cats awake during the day and during the night, so we agreed we could consider them as being both nocturnal and diurnal!  We then moved on to closely consider one nocturnal animal in particular - the owl  and learnt lots of interesting facts about these beautiful creatures.. We were all shocked to hear that owls have no teeth but instead use their beaks to tear up their food and that they can also swivel their heads around 270 degrees!  

Using our owl fact knowledge, we created a comparison chart to compare nocturnal owls with other birds. It was interesting how different birds and owls look with owls having big eyes and binocular vision and birds having smaller eyes on the side of their heads - we realised that these differences were really important because the owl works with limited light and so needs eyes that can let more light in and birds are awake during the day so can see all around them. We had a fabulous time making our own binoculars so we could see like owls, creating nocturnal dens and building environments for both nocturnal and diurnal creatures alike. We also created a careful observational line drawing of an owl, using our sound knowledge to label the different parts of the owl  - like the beak and the talons.

Owl Babies has been our focus story for the week and we enjoyed discussing the story structure and considering the different characters. This story has also been the stimulus for some philosophical classroom thinking. Our big question for our sustained shared thinking was ‘is it ok that mummy owl left her babies on her own?’’ This was the start of some rich discussion with some very strong opinions! Most thought that it was absolutely not ok as they would not like their mummy to leave them, but after some discussion, changed their minds as we explored the idea that there might be different sets of rules for animals than there are for humans. Some children decided that it is ok for mummies to leave us at school because we are safe and with grown ups who look after us.

Our shape, space and measure work this week focused on measuring time - we asked the children how long did it take for mummy owl to come back to the nest? How many jumps can we do in a minute and how many worms can you pick up and place into the owls nest? One minute seemed much longer than most of us had thought it would and we were shocked by how tired jumping for that long made us feel!

In our PE this week we have been working on our balancing skills - balancing on one leg like the owls do in their nests and using the hop, step action to begin to skip . It would be fantastic if you could practise these skills at home to build up those gross motor muscles. We were also all super excited to finally use the large climbing equipment in the hall, using our shoulder and arms to carefully pull ourselves up to the top, whilst being safe and careful as well as waiting our turn. It was great fun with some wonderful positional language thrown in!

As it is biting cold now, I would again emphasise how important hats and mittens are - we stay outside for over half an hour at lunchtime so cold hands are miserable! Many children are now able to zip up their own coats and put their own hats and gloves on which is fantastic but there are still a few who struggle to even get their coats on, so any home practise with this skill would be greatly appreciated!

Reading in reception is underway - it has been lovely reading the first few books with your children. It is clear that some children have worked hard to learn the characters from the sheet we sent home last week - this helps to embed the memory of the names to enable the children to read them and focus on decoding the cvc words within the stories. I am pleased to see some people have been working hard on bug club. There are still many people who haven’t accessed this yet and I would encourage you to get in touch if there are any issues (including lost passwords!). Reading at home is vitally important to ensure that there is progression with reading development as there are not enough hours in the week for us to read with your children as much as we would love to! I will be in touch early next week if people still haven’t logged on to check if there is anything I can help with.

*Well done to Jack Bouttell who is this week's Star f the Week for being a positive role model to the children in Pear class and for demonstrating wonderful listening skills!

Have a great weekend and we will see you next week for some night and day learning and a trip to deliver our letters to the big man himself!

Laurie Horne-Smith

Magic Maths!
Exploring time and nocturnal animals!
Building up our core and gross motor muscles in PE!