Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hi there!

Welcome back to the most exciting and most hectic part of the school year! Yes it is the build up to Christmas!!! Already I am singing away to myself the songs of our production. This half term is the best!!! Lots of singing, dancing, glitter, tinsel, more singing, more glitter etc. A half term to totally make sure you endear yourself to the cleaning staff!

I hope that your child is eager to get back to things this week. The week begins on TUESDAY with the children receiving yet another invitation to a baptism of Miss Polly's dolly. No...I haven't lost the plot! This sets the children up for an exciting week. The Golden Time treat for this week will be an Autumn parade.

So what will the children be learning this week?

Mathematical Development
As a school we are currently focusing on the development of the children’s rapid recall of number facts. OUR TARGETS are as follows:

By the end of the half term, the children:

MUST be able to FIND one more and one less than a number from 1 to 10.
SHOULD be able to KNOW one more and one less than a number from 1 to 10.
COULD be able to KNOW two numbers that make a total of 10.

In your child’s reading diary is a little rhyme that we hope all the children will know by the end of the half term to enable them to achieve the challenging COULD target. Hey…reach for the stars. That’s my moto! If for some reason the rhyme doesn’t quite make it to your child’s bag by Wednesday please let me know.

My experience and assessments show that the children pick up finding one more MUCH easier than finding one less. You never really ask the children do they want less but do they want more. Thus, their understanding of the term ‘more’ is understood better. Therefore, if you are to help your child in any way then I would suggest focusing on the term ‘less’.

We will begin our first week back by focusing on these targets. By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to identify the set of objects that has more or less and use the vocabulary correctly;
SHOULD be able to find one more and one less than a given number to 10;
COULD be able to know one more and one less than a given number to 10 – having mental recall.

Here are some great websites you could use to support your child in their mathematical development. However, developing this mathematical understanding is better in context. For example, when eating chicken pieces at tea time, ask how many they have and then as they eat one what is one less? - with this website, you will need to work with your child. They will need to firstly count the fish (they are moveable into a line) and then find one more and one less. - this website is great for developing the children’s understanding of one less. As one speckled frog jumps into the pool, there is one less! - these are great for those counting rhymes that involve one less each time.

Communication , Language and Literacy
Now that everyone is settled we start our rapid teaching of phonic skills. You will be amazed at how quickly the children learn to read and write. This week we will be focusing on the letters s, a, t and p. Some of the children already know these letters but this week, they will be required to hear them in words, read words containing them and even have a go at writing them. The words used will be:
At, as, tap, sat, pat.
By the end of this week, the children:

MUST be able to provide the sound for the letters a, p, t and s in response to seeing the letter symbol;
SHOULD be able to orally segment (sound out) the words containing the letters;
COULD be able to segment, blend and write the words containing the letters.

If you have a set of magnetic letters at home then why not have a go at spelling some of the words with them. Here are some websites your child could use to develop their letter recognition and start to develop their reading of words. - The children are to try to hear the initial sounds in words. - Look at the letter shown and then select the picture that begins with that letter. - This is an amazing website focusing on the initial sounds. Hours of fun why you do your ironing I think! - the children are to focus on the initial sounds of the picture shown and then identify a picture with the same initial sound. - a good website for getting the children to identify the letters of the alphabet. - this is a great all-rounder. Remember to encourage your child to use the letters they are unsure of. I will stick this information in your child’s diary this week. - I love this game! - activities 12 and 13 are good for helping with identifying the initial letters.

We really step up the game with the high frequency words now that we are fully settled in. Your support is crucial in developing your child’s recognition of the words. The words are so important as they provide a scaffold for the children when they are reading. The high frequency words will also be a focus for us in school.

Our theme for this week will be AUTUMN. This is totally inspired by my visit to the Lake District over the holidays. The children will look at signs of Autumn and use this as a stimulus not only for their creative work but for their language activities also. I will be using this text with the children: - this is a lovely text which is interactive and also has fabulous photographs of autumn scenes.
I hope that the children will learn about the difference between fiction and non-fiction books throughout this week.

And there’s more…

Topic work
We will also be looking at a poem called Leaf-birds by Joan Poulson. This will be our inspiration for a selection of art and craft activities.

Finger painted trees
The children will be getting their fingers messy while they create a finger painting of an autumn scene using only their fingers. They will be encouraged to think about the shapes and the colours of the leaves during autumn time.

Leaf printing
The children will explore and investigate the patterns on leaves by printing with leaves, laying them in clay and doing leaf rubbings.

Leaf-bird pictures
The children will collect the leaves fallen from the trees and make leaf birds with them.

Autumn crowns
For our Autumn Parade for Golden Time, the children will create their very own autumn crown using leaves and tissue paper. With Mrs Latham, the bakers will be making pumpkin soup for us to enjoy. This is linked to the fabulous and endearing story Pumpkin Soup the children love.

Sewing and Weaving
The children will continue to develop their fine motor skills through the creation of an Autumn Weaving Sculpture. With Mrs Latham they will be learning to stitch thread onto leaf shaped felt to mirror what they observed on the leaves when looking for patterns. Mrs Higgins will be working with the children to create the weaving ‘loom’ and selecting appropriate fabrics and materials for the weaving. The finish product will include the weaving and the stitched leaves. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Here I Am
We will continue on our theme of Signs and Symbols. This week the children will be shown the symbols of a Baptism. They will learn the importance of the white shawl, the sign of the cross, the words spoken, the candle and then shell. Please talk to your child about their baptism as this helps them to understand the concept a little more. We will be having our own ‘baptism’ in class.

A note to remember this week!

There will be a mass in school on Thursday at 9am for all Saint’s Day. You are most welcome to attend but please be aware that space is limited.

Tis’ the season to be jolly…
Ooohhh! I am SO excited about Christmas. The production is now written and ready for learning. This week you will receive a letter regarding your child’s part in the production. It will detail the costume your child will need. I know we are early but you will be surprised how quickly tights etc run out on Warrington market! It may be worth mentioning that we operate a TICKET ONLY system for the performances. Each family will get three tickets, a ticket for each performance. This is for health and safety purposes.

Parents’ evening
You will receive the time and date of your parent/teacher interview. I have done my very best to accommodate everyone’s wishes.

A plea from the heart!
Please could we ask for the children to come into the classroom on their own from now on. They all started to come in in the first few weeks on their own but this seems to have stopped. The children need to be as independent as possible. It is actually something that we have to observe for the Foundation Stage Profile. Your support in this will be much appreciated as the day gets off to a slow start which is time when the children could be starting their learning. For instance, if we waste five minutes getting settled in the morning then it is 25 minutes over a week,. What can be learned in that amount of time? It is the equivalent of two teaching input times so it's well worth the effort.

I think that is all for now!

Take care and have a GREAT week!

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

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