Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Blue Planet Aquarium

Firstly, may I thank all those parents who have kindly offered their services to accompany us to the Blue Planet Aquarium. I am sure both you and the children in your care will have a marvellous time. Did you notice I forgot to place the Spanish words for the days of the week in the children’s homework books? Many apologies, I printed them off and then forgot to send them!

Now onto business…

Our week gets off to a ‘swimming’ start (sorry couldn’t resist) with our visit to the Blue Planet Aquarium. The children have been prepared by using our non-fiction text to find out information about the sea-life creatures housed at the aquarium. This year we have booked them on a more advanced classroom session as we found last year that they could answer all the questions the presenter asked.

Communication, Language and Literacy (linked with Knowledge and Understanding of the World)
By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to think of a sentence they wish to write about their visit to the aquarium and have a go at writing it with support;
SHOULD be able to write a sentence with a capital letter and a full stop;
COULD be able to write more sentences about their visit and use a connective to join two sentences together.

As we move on in this term I aim for all the children to be able to write a sentence. You may want to start working with your child asking them to draw a picture and then thinking of a sentence to go with it. In school we use key questioning to support them in their thinking. We never give the children the spelling of the words as we like them to think for themselves and have a go without the fear of making a mistake. Here are a few pointers for you:

Start by asking your child what they want to write and then get them to rehearse it by stamping it out or clapping it.

Ask: What do you need at the start of your sentence? (a capital letter)

Remind them of ‘Wiggly Finger’ who gets upset if they don’t leave a finger space between their words.

As the children spell the words ask them to stretch it out. At this stage the children only need to write down the sounds that they can hear.

When your child comes to the end of their sentence, ask: What do you need to finish your sentence?

High Frequency Words
I am thrilled with the way in which the children are now tackling their high frequency words and their decoding of words when reading. This is great, thank you. Please continue with them as they are very important.

Last week, I worked heavily on phonics with the children. How impressed was I? This week, we will be continuing to develop their phonological awareness, and by the this end of this week, the children:

MUST be able to spell simple three letter words such as cat, pen, dig, hen etc;
SHOULD be able to spell four letter words such as flag, slip. Plan etc;
COULD be able to spell words with double consonants such as doll, sick, clock, mess, off.
If you also look back on previous blogs for the phonic websites they should still be okay also.

Mathematical Development
Mmm…may have been a little too ambitious planning so much work last week. Therefore, we will be continuing to work on the children’s understanding and use of money. This week, the children will continue to focus on the use of 1p coins to pay for items in the class shop. So, why not get out those tins from the larder and play shop with 1p coins? Go on it will bring back childhood memories and make you realise what you put your dear parents through. (Didn’t Grandparents play forever though?)

Last week’s websites are still useful to visit. It is much better to use the real coins and rather than giving you new websites, working with the real thing and playing shop is the best tool for teaching money.

We will also be developing the children’s understanding of exchange. That is their understanding that two 1p coins is the same as one 2p coin etc. They will also learn to count a mixture of 1p, 2p and 5p coins to find the total. All in all, by the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to use 1p coins to pay for items in the shop;
SHOULD be able to understand exchange;
COULD be able to count a mixture of coins and pay for things in the shop using the coins.

Running alongside the work on money is the review and reinforcement of the children’s number recognition.

Please be aware that the writing of the numbers to 10 and 20 need to be worked on alongside their recognition.

Here I AM
As last week, we will be learning about the energy the Holy Spirit gives; and Pentecost, a day to celebrate this.

Creative Development
What can I say? The children designed some fantastic ‘fabulous fish’ that they will begin to make this week with Mrs Higgins and Miss Davies. Model making is an excellent way in which the children can develop their thinking skills, being able to make decisions, evaluate and modify their work. The fish will form part of our display on the Blue Planet Aquarium. Can’t wait!! Following our visit the children will also complete under the water collages.

Physical Development
Last week the children created a hanging with Mrs Higgins using a range of materials to create an under the water piece of art. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of textile work I have ever seen and the children have really enjoyed making it. They were told that they were doing it to help their handwriting and so this added to their motivation.

The hanging will provide a beautiful background to the amazing felt sea-life creatures the children have been sewing with Mrs Latham. The children will continue with these this week.

This week, the children are not going to learn anything new in Spanish as we are going to consolidate what they have learned before. However, the children will be creating a DVD, introducing themselves in Spanish, which will then be posted to our partner school in Malaga. I will be placing a sticker in your child’s diary that I ask you to sign giving consent to them appearing on the DVD. They will simply be standing before the camera and saying ‘Hello, my name is ….’.

Have a fantastic week!

Best wishes
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxxxx

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