Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Starlights and Snowflakes

Week beginning 27th November 2006

This is our final week of practising the Christmas Production ' The Christmas Rose'. The children have been amazing! We are so proud of them and they have all been eager to take their position on the stage and take part. I would recommend that you get your tissues at the ready, for you will cry with amusement as well as pride. Mrs Higgins, Mrs Latham and myself have been prone to the odd tear or two so far, and they aren't even our little angels.

In order for you to see a performance fit for 'The Palladium', much of this week will be taken polishing our performance in the hall with the year one and two classes. However, we will be keeping to the basics of reading, handwriting and mathematics throughout the week.

Here I Am
As our topic develops about GIFTS we ask that the children bring a treasured gift in to school to share during Circle Time. The children will need to be able to say WHEN they received the gift, WHO gave it to them, and WHY it is so special to them. Please place your child's gift into a labelled bag and send it in on Friday. We promise that it will be returned the very same day. As a stimulus to this, and a build up throughout the week, a mystery gift with a label saying 'To Tina Tinsel from Gordon Glitter' (oh believe me it gets worse as the year goes on!) will be left in the classroom for the children to guess what is inside. On Friday, Mrs Higgins will be in character for our Mantle of the Expert as Tina Tinsel. She will come in to see the problem-solvers because she was expecting a parcel from her friend Gordon Glitter and it hasn't arrived. Of course the problem solvers will know where the parcel is, but when Tina Tinsel opens the box the present has broken and she is unsure what it was. The children are to use the pieces throughout the week to support their learning in Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

Do you have those Advent calendars at the ready? Although the chocolate is scrummy and delicious, please be sure to explain to your child that Advent is a time when we await Christmas, the celebration of God's gift of Jesus. Throughout the next few weeks we will be sharing the Christmas story with the children and changing our home corner into the stable in Bethlehem. A lovely electronic book telling the nativity story can be found on the following website:

We will be having our own home-made Advent calendar. Inside each numbered pocket will be a deed the children have to accomplish for the day e.g say somthing nice to someone or help a friend, etc.

Communication, Language and Literacy
As we are doing 'gifts' in Here I Am, we have decided to concentrate on labels this week in Communication, Language and Literacy. On the writing table the children will have tags to write on for gifts they wish to send. We will be looking at the different external parts of the human face and body and labelling them. This will enable the children to start using the initial letters in words as a cue to supporting their word identification when reading.

We will also be looking at the sounds that appear at the beginning and end of words. The children are now rapidly starting to hear these words and therefore, we are focusing on communicating the sounds they hear into their writing.

Whilst on the subject of writing, can I express our pleasure at how well the children are coming on in their handwriting skills. Your support at home completing the handwriting homework enables the speed the children progress through the letters to be much faster than if we were only doing it at school.

Any of the previous letter recognition websites detailed in this blog are suitable for this week's tasks. The sooner the children know their letter sounds and letter names, the quicker their reading and writing develops.

Mathematical Development
We did not get as much of our work on symmetry done as we would have liked last week. Therefore, we are going to spend this week on it as well. The children will be dip-dying fabrics to make a symmetrical square, investigating which letters and shapes are symmetrical, as well as making funky symmetrical masks.

Alongside this the children will be continuing to focus on finding one more and one less than a given number. - you may wish to go over the term 'less' with your child to enable them to find one less.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Time is limited due to the rehearsal of our Christmas production. However, to elaborate on the Mantle of the Expert for this week, inside the gift will be a selection of construction pieces. The children are to use the construction equipment to make a gift for Tinal Tinsel. As each child makes a model, they will take photograph with the digital camera.

In ICT, the children will be developing their hand-eye coordination further through the use of an art package called Dazzle. They will create a friend for Elmer by selecting a colour from the palette and then clicking on the outline of a patchwork elephant. This will be further developed by the use of the text icon, when the children will be asked to type in their name as a label for their picture. Finally, the print button will be introduced to the children.

Here are some great websites for your child to practise their mouse skills: - select a colour by clicking to paint a picture like Lecky's. - click and drag parts of the body to make a 'scary spud'.

On Friday the children are allowed to come into school in their own clothes in exchange for a contribution to our Christmas Tombola. The school council are holding a bring and buy sale and any toys and games in good condition that you need to clear room for before Christmas would be greatly appreciated.

As you may be aware, only one ticket per family has been given to you for each performance. This is for the health and safety of your child as well as fire regulations. Please feel free to swap your tickets with each other if you wish. Unfortunately, prams will not be permitted into the hall on the performances due to lack of space as the children require access around the side and back of the hall during the performance.

I think that is all!

Have good week!

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Let's sing and dance!

Weekly update 20th November 2006


Firstly, I'd like to pass on our appreciation to the children for their exemplary behaviour during our Ofsted inspection. They really did do us proud and it was commented on how engaged and enthusiastic the children are when they are learning.

Here's what we are doping this week.

Here I Am
Last week we completed our topic on Initiation with Mrs No-Idea coming to school and asking for information about things we do to make new children feel welcome. This resulted in the children taking photographs with the digital camera, printing them out and writing captions. There were some great drawings of myself, Mrs Higgins, Mrs Latham and Mrs Walker.

This week we start a new topic about GIFTS. The children will learn to appreciate what a gift is, that Jesus was a gift from God and the meaning behind we celebrate Christmas. This is all supported by practising for the Chistmas Production, where the main character looks for a gift for the baby Jesus.

Communication, Language and Literacy
This week we will be concentrating on the children's phonological awareness, the ability to use the sounds they hear to support their reading and writing. Therefore, I have listed websites which will support this. I hope to give you an update this week on the letters of the alphabet your child needs to work on. These do need reviewing as the children have really made lots of progress since the parents' evenings.

Mathematical Development
This week is great!!! The children will be exploring symmetry. You can find examples of symmetry all around us, in faces, nature etc. The website: gives examples of symmetry for the children to look at.
A lovely activity is to fold a piece of paper in half. Pain on one side and then fold and open. Simple but it gets the point across. We will also be looking at symmetry in multicultural art.
You can make your own symmetrical design on:
You can also get a pair of scissors and make snowflakes.

Other activities will take place throughout the week but I'm afraid it's OPERATION CHRISTMAS PRODUCTION this week.

See you soon
Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sounds good! Smells fantastic!

Weekly update 13th November 2006

Hi there!

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Firstly, thank you to all those parents who have encouraged their child to come into school in the morning on their own. The morning process is getting quicker now and the children's learning is starting earlier in the day. Please continue to encourage your child to be as independent as possible and, if anyone has not quite taken the plunge yet ...go on, have a go!

GOOD NEWS! The children are doing fantastic at getting dressed more independently. Well done children and thank you to you as parents for your patience and support in this.

Here I Am
The school will be looking at Hinduism and Divali this week but we have already covered this. Therefore, we are continuing our work on Initiation. This week's Here I Am will incorporate our Mantle of the Expert. The children are to get a visit from 'Mrs No-idea'. She has a little boy who is starting our school but she needs to convince him that this is the place to be! She will ask the problem solvers to create an information book containing all the things they know about St Vincent's. By the end of the week the children will have a book to give to her. However, that is not where the story ends. Oh no! She has a little baby girl and she needs information about Baptism. Can we help?

Communication, Language and Literacy
This week is another one of our favourite week (I say that alot!) The children will work on a poem called 'Sounds Good'. It talks about sausages sizzling, crispbreads cracking, popcorn popping etc and yes, you've guessed it! We will be cooking our own sausages for butties and making popcorn to see if the poet chose the correct vocabulary. Hence the title of our blog this week!

They will review their understanding of alliteration and rhyme. The websites from the previous postings will still stand. However, I do have a good rhyming game for you to play. Forget cherades...try a ryming string.
Take a long piece of string or wool. Hold one end and say a word. One member of the family says a word that rhymes with it and then takes hold of part of the string (you keep hold). Another member of the family says a word that rhymes and then takes a part of the string. Eventually you have a web effect. Then you start all over again with another word.

Mathematical Development
This week we will be working on length. I have enclosed an information sheet in your child's diary about how we teach length. In addition to this we will be continuing to develop counting skills and reinforcing the ability to add one more to a given number. These websites may help: - the children type in a number and then the machine adds one more. Can they work out the answer before the machine? - this is the same game as above but it extends the child's learning to adding two more. - the children must count the fruits and match to the number.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
This week we will be moving onto looking at different sources of light and sound. The children will be asked to sort artefacts according to the criteria and then be given the opportunity to explore how things work. You may wish to have a look around the environment with your child for sources of light and sound, identifying which are natural and which are man-made.

In ICT the children will have an opportunity to use the computers and interactive whiteboard to extend their learning in all the areas of learning.

Physical Development
The children will be focusing on their throwing and catching during PE lessons. They will also be given the opportunity to reinforce the skills learned last week when making models. They can choose to make a robot with the remaining junk materials we have. As always the children will work on their cutting skills.

Creative Development
The children will learn about dynamics in music - fast, slow etc. Looks like a very noisy week! In addition to this the children will be learning about the effects of adding white to a colour.

Finally, please make sure your child has their hats, scarves and gloves labelled as we have had a few mix ups. Thanks.

I think that is all for now.

Have a great week

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

Saturday, November 04, 2006

We're ready for lift off!!!

Weekly update

Hello there!

As our title of our posting suggests we are ready to make our rockets. I don't think we have ever had a class who have collected so much junk materials for their rocket models. this is absolutely fantastic, as it gives the children a real choice of the shapes and sizes available to make their models. I just love this week!! Even my Grandma and her knitting circle get involved and have saved all their cones from their wool. Thanks to you all.

We didn't get through everything last week so we are carrying on from last week. Here's what's happening this week...

Here I Am
As the class target suggests, the children will be continuing to learn about initiation and relating it to the baptism of Jesus. They will compare their baptism with that of Jesus and learn why they have Godparents. If you could talk to your child about this it will deepen their understanding. We are also ahead of the game, as the syllabus states that we should teach the children the sign of the cross, and we have already done it!!

Communication, Language and Literacy
Following the much anticipated fireworks of the weekend the children will be working on a firework poem. This is how the poem goes...
10 fat sausages sizzling in the fire
9 fiery flames reaching even higher
8 shiny stars dropping on the ground
7 silver sparklers whirling round and round
6 golden fountains fizzing in the dark
5 red rockets whizzing across the park
4 bright catherine wheels spinning on a gate
3 wide-eyed children allowed out very late
2 proud parents watching all the games
1 lonely guy roasting in the flames.
The children will reinforce their understanding of alliteration (words and phrases which begin with the same sound) and continue to develop their understanding of rhyme. I have a little game you may wish to play.
You will need:
a teddy bear or soft toy and...patience.
How to play:
Say a rhyming word whilst holding the toy. Pass the toy to your child and they have to say a rhyming word. They then pass it back to you for you to say a rhyming word. This continues until you can't think of anymore rhyming words and then your child chooses a word to rhyme with. This can be played in a circle with other members of the family so switch off the TV and have some Rhyme-Time instead.

Mathematical Development
This week the children are working once again one finding one more and one less than a given number. They are all counting remarkably reliably now and many seem to have grasped fidning one more mentally. We have decided to continue with this for another week with an emphasis on the terms 'more' and 'less'. We will, however, introduce the terms 'greater' and 'smaller' when comparing two numbers.

Mantle of the Expert
Yet again Mrs Daydream will stumble across the 'Problem-solvers' (the children). Last week they were eagerly making designs for her to see on her return. She is going to explain that she would need to see what the rockets look like in reality and ask the problem-solvers to make some model rockets for her. This creates the stimulus for the rocket making.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
As I noted last week, the aim of the model making is to support and guide children in their selection of materials and tools for making their rockets. they will learn about using masking tape because they can paint over it etc. This will be in preparation for the following week, when the children will have free choice in their model making. This way the children will have been taught how to join materials effectively, choose appropriate materials and tools for the task etc in order for them to be able to make models independently. Why not try a spot of model making at home? We'd love to see them.

In addition to the model making the children will learning about 'reflection'. Last week, they explored materials that are shiny and dull. This week we are collecting 'shiny' and 'dull' materials for our investigation table. If you have anything to add, then the children can bring it in to share witht he class on the investigation table. You may wish to reinforce their understanding of reflection by looking around the home for things they can see their faces in. It's pretty easy in the shops too with all the Christmas decorations about!!! (Not long to go now!!!)

Physical Development
In PE this week the children will be learning to move in response to the music they will be dancing to in the Christmas Production. Yes! We do actually have to start this so early. It's great fun and you'll love it!

The children will also be refining their fine motor skills this week with the creation of weaving sculptures using shiny and dull materials. Weaving is a great way of developing the children's manipulative skills. In addition to this, they will developing their cutting skills through a series of activities involving threading, playdough, tracing and, of course, the much loved computer.

Creative Development
As Christmas approaches my urge to use glitter on everything increases. As I stated above the children will create shiny and dull sculptures as part of a team. They will also be invited to make a shiny card for Mrs Daydream to take with her when she visits the jigaree. The rockets will get their finishing touches of fire and sequins etc and hopefully be 'in flight' by the end of the following week. Yes this means you may have to duck even more when you enter the classroom.

In music the children will explore how instruemnts are played and create a musical accompaniment to the firework poem above.

Other messages
As part of their learning the children spend sometime learning outdoors. Please ensure that your child has a hat, gloves and a scarf every day. Please also remember to label it with a name tag.

As the children have been in school for quite a while now we ask that you encourage them to come in on their own. This helps to settle the children quicker. Initally, your child may feel a little unsettled but when it becomes the norm they just get on with it. This is not to say that you can not enter the building and if your child is extrememly distressed and not ready for this them please do what you feel is best. We do however, hope that by Christmas all the children will be coming in on their own.

As you may have noticed I have not made any links with new websites. the ones previously posted will be sufficient for this week. I can tell that many of the children have been on as they sing along to the songs on it in the classroom.

Have a great week!

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x