Sunday, January 13, 2008

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 BLAST OFF!!

Hi there!

What a fantastic start the Spring Term we had last week with the introduction of our new topic on Transport and Journeys. The children have posed some excellent questions which they would like answered by the end of the topic. The focus for teaching and learning each week will be determined by the children themselves. On Friday they had to vote on whether they wanted to learn about space travel, travelling by land, by sea or by air. The majority voted for…(drum roll please) SPACE TRAVEL.

So what will the children be learning?

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Last year Mr Narraway visited the Kennedy Space Centre in America and took some amazing photographs for me. I have been waiting patiently for an opportunity to use them. The children will have the opportunity to have a look inside a real rocket and learn about its contents. They will learn about the moon and the other planets in our solar system. They may have already told you that the role play area is being changed into a space rocket.

Mantle of the Expert
Last week the children received a visit from the Mayor of Little Town asking the problem solvers to design mode of transport for the citizens to go on holiday in. The children really got into this and worked well in their teams. However, this week there will be a twist to their designs. Yes! Another problem. The people of Little Town have heard that visits to the moon are all the rage now and would like the problem-solvers to design a rocket for them to travel into space. The children will therefore, take on the role of being designers. They will plan their designs on paper and decide on the materials they are going to use for them. Towards the latter part of the week, the children will all be making a junk model rocket big enough for five citizens from Little Town to travel into space. In order to do this though, we will need lots of plastic bottles, cardboard tubes and yoghurt pots etc. If you have any please do send them in.

Communication, Language and Literacy
The text for this week will be The Jigaree. This is a great book which helps the children practice reading their high frequency words in context. The Jigaree is an alien from outer space and when the astronaut visits the jigaree follows him everywhere. The repetitive nature of the text will hopefully feed into our writing activities this week.

As with last week the children:

MUST be able to recognise the letters s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c and k by sound or name.
SHOULD be able to recognise the sound and name for ‘ck’, ‘e’, ‘u’, and ‘r’.
COULD be able to use the letters they have learned to segment and blend words when reading and writing. - this is a great website. Perhaps make sure that your child focuses on the letters that they are working on for the week. - this game is great for helping your child to blend sounds together. You can select the pattern (choose those with the letters we have been working on) and then the children have to read the word and click on the tick if it is a real word. - This again is a great website for blending three letter words together. - This helps the children see how three letter words are made up of a consonant, a vowel and then a consonant. - If your child is experiencing difficulties listening to the middle sound then this is a great game for them. - a great site for blending again. Look at the picture in the machine and click on the correct word to match it.

Mathematical Development
As well as continuing with their 3d shape recognition, the children will start a new topic on SYMMETRY and PATTERN.
By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to create a repeating pattern
SHOULD be able to recognise symmetry
COULD be able to make a symmetrical model from a range of materials, pointing out matching pairs on each side of the middle.

Here are some great websites the children can play around on. - the children have to create a matching symmetrical butterfly to the one shown. The level of difficulty can be raised by the use of two colours and then the chance to create their own symmetrical butterfly. - this is great. The children can create a kaleidoscope effect on the screen. - I love this one. The children can make a pattern on one side and then make its reflection on the other side. Just keep clicking on the squares to change the colours. - a good website for helping children to understand what symmetry is.

Creative Development
Our classroom is ready to be adorned with beautiful pieces of art created by the children. The Fernand Leger and Wassily Kandinsky inspired pictures are beautiful and we can’t wait to put them up. This week, the children will look at Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. They will learn about how Van Gogh used the swirls in the picture to create the impression of the movement of the wind. Here is a picture of the art that will inspire us.

Did you know that the song Starry Starry Night by John Denver (I think?) was inspired by the painting by Van Gogh?

In music the children will continue to use percussion instruments to accompany the song The wheels on the Bus.

Physical Development
Your child may have come home and told you that they had been on the climbing frame last week. They were beside themselves with excitement when we got the apparatus out. This whole half term will focus on moving along, through, under and over different pieces of apparatus, and learning to make a safe landing.

Here I Am
We move onto the RELATE part of our topic on Celebrations. This week the children will learn about the visit to the temple made by Jesus. They will discuss the different artefacts found in church and learn about what they symbolise.

If the weather is okay next week, the children will hopefully be able to go outside throughout the day to enhance their learning. Please could you ensure your child is suitably dressed in a warm coat and a hat. Thanks.

Have a great week!

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

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