Sunday, January 07, 2007

Who ate the porridge?

Weekly update week beginning 8th January 2007

We are looking forward to a full week this week as we were a little too ambitious last week aiming to pack so much into the two days we had. Therefore, you may see a little repetition from last week's blog in this week.

As you may have read on the school newsletter, we are ensuring that all children wear the correct uniform for school. Each teacher has been asked to talk to their class about the correct attire for school from their bobbles to their shoes. On 'inspection' of the children in the Foundation class we were really pleased with the level of smartness and adherence to the school uniform and we thank you for this. There are only two things to mention:

Girls must always have their hair tied up in a bobble that must be either black or navy blue.
If girls are wearing tights on cold days, they must be plain navy, black or grey, and likewise socks must we either grey, white or navy.

We have taught the children a catchphrase to help them understand the importance of looking smart - 'Look Smart, Think Smart'

Here I Am
As you are aware from last week's blog, we are starting our topic on BOOKS. This links in very well with our literacy activities for the half term also. There are clear expectations for the children in RE and they are as follows:
By the end of the topic the children:
MUST be to name some of their favourite books, know that books are used in church on a Sunday and that the Bible is a special book;
SHOULD be able to identify different books used in the classroom, know that special books are used in church on Sunday and be able to retell some of the story of the Presentation and know that it comes from the Bible;
COULD be able to sort a variety of books into different categories, say why the Bible is special for the family of Jesus and know the names of some different books people use in church on a Sunday.

This week we will be looking at three areas of the Here I Am curriculum. The children will to RECOGNISE some different books, REFLECT on the different books used in the classroom and RESPECT there are many different kinds of books. By the end of the week we hope that all children know and understand that there are a variety of different books.

For Golden Time on Friday, the children are allowed to bring in their favourite book to share with the rest of the class. They will need to be able to tell us the title and explain why they like the book so much. Please place the book in your child's reading bag to avoid any mix-ups with our books in school. Thanks.

Communication, Language and Literacy
Our work on traditional stories got off to a flying start last week with the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The children role-played the story and tasted some of Ma Latham's special porridge during Golden Time. This week the children will use the story 'The Jolly Postman' as a stimulus to much of their literacy work and ICT activities. The children left a bowl of porridge out on Friday becuase they read in a newspaper that there was a 'porridge burglar' on the prowl!!! They decided to leave a trap. Will it still be there on Monday??? Doesn't take a genius to work out that it won't be. It's all part of the master plan!!

The porridge will be eaten and a letter from Goldilocks will be delivered by The Jolly Postman (aka Mrs Latham) at sometime during the first part of the morning, apologising for taking the porridge again. We hope that this will stimulate the children to write a response on the writing table.

The text for this week, The Jolly Postman, starts with him visiting the Three Bears Cottage with a letter from Goldilocks. The text is rhythmic and includes rhyme to consolidate the children's previous learning. The children will learn about the purpose and organisation of letters and the task for them is to write a letter of response back as if they are Baby Bear.

The Jolly Postman visits the Gingerbread House from Hansel and Gretel next week and therefore, we will read the story in class. You can find a lovely electronic big book on the following website:

We are also continuing with the children's phonological development through a series of structured activities which support their reading and writing. By the end of the week, the children:
MUST know five new letter names/sounds;
SHOULD be able to identify and write the initial and final sounds in simple three letter words;
COULD be able to spell simple three letter words such as cat, man, pit etc
The following websites will support this: - the children look at the object and then select the three letter word to match it bu sounding out the words and blending the sounds together. - a game to support letter identification - by far the best website for letter recognition but make sure they use the letters they are unfamiliar with. The updated list should help.

The children are progressing well but their handwriting is one thing that may hinder their ability to communicate their skills in a written form. Thank you for your support in completing your child's handwriting homework. We will now be stepping up a gear in order to help the children write more proficiently and therefore, demonstrate their learning. You can support this by encouraging your child to colour in pictures, play with play dough, thread pasta on string or wool, any activity involving small finger movements.

This website is worth a look at: - This is a great website. The children can play snap with high frequency words, letters amd lower and upper case.

Mathematical Development
We will be continuing our work on weight and capacity. By the end of the week, the children: MUST be able to order two objects by capacity;
SHOULD be able to use language such as more, less, full, half full and empty to compare two quantities (then more than two) by making direct comparisons of capacities;
COULD be able to compare two or more capacities by direct comparison, measure using uniform non-standard units (e.g. yogurt pots), or standard units (e.g. litre jugs) and understand and use the vocabulary related to capacity.

MUST be able to order two objects by weight;
SHOULD be able to use language such as more or less, heavier or lighter to compare two quantities, then more than two, by making direct comparisons of masses;
COULD be able to compare two or more masses by direct comparison, Measure using uniform non-standard units (e.g. wooden cubes), or standard units (e.g. plastic weights) and understand and use the vocabulary related to mass.

Due to postal delays over Christmas and New Year the children did not receive their parcel from Mr Measure. It will arrive on Monday, delivered by The Jolly Postman. Inside the parcel will be some measuring items - a pan balance, scales, objects for measuring, bottles, jugs, funnels etc. A letter will be enclosed asking the children to help him answer some very difficult questions. Can they help? (Yes they can!!) They will set about comparing objects by weight and capacity.

The children always enjoy this type of mathematical activity but each year the stumbling block is the VOCABULARY used to compare the objects being measured. Any support you can give to this at home would be greatly appreciated. What language do the children need to develop?

WEIGHT - weigh, weighs, balances, heavy, light, heavier, lighter, heaviest, lightest, scales - please note that children do mix up the term 'lighter' with that associated with colour and light.
CAPACITY - full, half full, empty, holds, container, holds more, holds less

Here is a great website to support this area of learning. - If you click on the Kindergarten/Reception link then on 'mass' and 'capacity'. I loved this website but think the children could have a go at the Year 1 level. Feel free to make use of the other games too.

Although this is a fab website, the best way of learning these concepts is through play and activities around the house. An opportunity for comparing weight may arise when you are putting the shopping away in the cupboard, which is heavier/lighter the beans or the rice? Likewise for capacity, bath time is the most obvious time to support language development. Take plastic container and compare which holds more/less? How many cups does it take to fill the larger bowl? Believe me, this does stick because it is a different environment for learning.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
In ICT this half term we focus on the use of an art package to create pictures on the computer. Linked with the half term topic on Transport, the children will be asked to choose an mode of transport to create a picture of using the shape tools. The children:
MUST be able to select a colour from the colour palette;
SHOULD be able to change the colour and create a shape using the shape tools on the program;
COULD be able to change the colour, create a shape and use the flood fill tool with some degree of independence.
Each group of children going into the ICT suite will have a challenge to create a certain mode of transport. If you do not have an art package for children to use at home, you can always use the paint program under accessories on your home computer.

We will also be teaching the children how to program a programmable robot. The children love it! The Roamer will be dressed up as The Jolly Postman and he needs to deliver the letter to The Three Bears Cottage. The children must programme the Roamer to move from the Post Office to the Three Bears Cottage on the floor map provided. As the half term goes on the children will have to visit other characters from the text and this will involve extending the children's programming skills to involve making the Roamer move backwards and making turns. (That is once we ourselves have mastered it!!)

In addition to this, the children will be sorting modes of transport according to whether they travel on land, on the sea or by air. They will also be classifying different forms of transport according to given criteria e.g Can fly by has no wings etc.

Physical Development
The children will be learning to move in different ways and refining their movements before working on large climbing apparatus next week. The children have a great song and story as the stimulus called The Animal Boogie, from which they will warm up their bodies before the main part of the lesson. Please make sure your child has a PE kit in school that is clearly labelled. Could I also ask that their names are marked on the OUTSIDE of the bag for quick identification. Thanks.

Finally, thank you for encouraging your child to come into school on their own.

I bet your week was as exciting as ours!!

Take care

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxxx

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