Saturday, February 23, 2008

Flutterby or Butterfly?

Hi there!

I am trying a different approach to the blog this week, as I would like to share with you more detail about the classroom activities your child has on offer to them. This is in response to the parental questionnaire sent out earlier this year. Some children select the same activities throughout the week. We do encourage them to select a wider variety however the lure of the stickle bricks, water and sand are too much for some to ignore. The information on the blog may help you also to encourage them to try new activities. If you have any thoughts on which approach is best please let me know either via the comments route on this blog or through your child’s diary. Thanks.

At the end of last week the children took a vote on whether they would like to find out about the changes that happen to caterpillars or to tadpoles. The outcome of the vote, and therefore, the focus for teaching and learning this week is…How do caterpillars change into butterflies?

How does a caterpillar change into a butterfly?
The children’s existing knowledge will be explored with this question. A cyclical diagram skeleton will be used to explain the changes as the children read ‘ The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. The children will sequence the stages of change in the form of a zigzag book or on a cyclical diagram. The children will have choice as to how they wish to present their knowledge. Following on from their work on labels and captions last week, they will be encouraged to write captions and labels to accompany their sequencing. - this has a slide show. Faith really enjoyed this and after seven repeats I eventually got to carry on writing this blog. - this page has loads of activities you can click on.

Small World Play
The small world play table will be changed into a garden with leaves, flowers, stones, plastic caterpillars, butterflies and cocoons. Stories such as The Butterfly by Anna Milbourne and Cathy Shimmen will be shared with the children to enable them to reenact the story and use the language of change in their imaginative play.

The children will talk about how the butterflies need leaves to eat and plants to lay their eggs on. The children will plant different bedding plants in the tubs to attract the different minibeasts. If you have any spare plant pots, compost, seeds etc that you could donate we would be grateful recipients.

What would happen if a plant didn’t get any sunlight or water?
The children are to set up an investigation to answer the question. The children will work in small groups of 4 with an adult. You may want to have a go at this at home.

Have a go at home!!
To demonstrate how the stem takes water to the flower, try using a daffodil or a white carnation and place it in a glass of water with food colouring it. The result is amazing particularly if you use red colouring.

Butterfly Garden
The children will have the opportunity to have firsthand experience of observing a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. I have ordered a butterfly garden with real life caterpillars that we can watch turn into pupi and then change into butterflies. How exciting!! Mini books and clip boards will be left for the children to note down the changes. We will be charting the changes on a calendar.

What happens to a bean?
Each child will plant a bean. They will begin to chart the growth of their bean each week over the half term. A bean will be also placed in a glass jar for the children to see what is happening beneath the soil to theirs.
They will explore, sort, examine and handle seeds in fruit, vegetables, packets, pods etc. They will explore similarities and differences. This will be extended to planting them planting the seeds outdoors in small pots. If you can collect any seeds from foods such as melons, oranges etc we will plant them up.

Beebot Hungry Caterpillar Mat
The children are to programme the beebot to make it move to the different foods. The children are really getting quite good at programming the robot now.

Communication, Language and Literacy
By the end of the week, the children:
MUST understand the purpose of instructions
SHOULD be able to follow simple written instructions
COULD be able to identify some of the features of a set of instructions

This area of learning will be integrated into the children’s daily activities. They will be encouraged to develop their use of new and appropriate vocabulary, story language, role play and writing skills. Examples of this are;

How does a caterpillar change into a butterfly?
The children will be encouraged to write a label or a caption to accompany their sequencing.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar storyboard
Following the reading of the story the children will have the opportunity to retell the story in their own words. The magnetic story board will be set up in the book corner. There are also some large pieces and a puppet to retell the story with.

Life cycle story board
On the back magnetic board the magnetic pieces telling the life cycle of a butterfly will be set out in the form of a cyclical diagram for the children to place the sequence on. White board pens will be used for the children to label the sequence.

Writing table
Following the discussion with the children the life cycle of a butterfly the children will have butterfly shaped pictures on the writing table in which they can write about the life cycle.

Our phonics focus for this week is on the letters ‘j’, ‘v’, ‘w’ and ‘x’. There is often a confusion about the pronunciation of the sound ‘x’. The letter name is X as in X factor and the sound is ‘cs’ as in box.

You should have received an update on your child’s letter name and sound recognition and I am so very pleased with them all. The daily phonics session is rapidly becoming our most favourite time of the day.

As well as teaching these letters we will be focusing on the sounding out and blending of the sounds into words.

Websites from last week are also appropriate for this week.

High Frequency Words
You may have noticed the children coming in each morning and getting a whiteboard and pen. The aim of this is to ensure all children leaving the Foundation Stage know all their high frequency words. The children are loving it and last week 95% of the children could spell the focus words of I, can, see and mum. This week our focus words are ‘and’, ‘look, ‘me’ and ‘you’.

Mathematical Development
By the end of the week, the children:
MUST be able to recite the days of the week in order
SHOULD be able to order random numbers
COULD be able to sequence the days of the week

Websites from last week for the number activities should support the ordering of random numbers. The days of the week are best just learned by rote and then asking the children:
What day comes after Thursday?
What day comes before Tuesday?
What days are at the weekend?
What day is it today?
What day was it yesterday?
What day will it be tomorrow? - ordering the days of the week. - a lovely song about the days of the week. Sadly, I already knew it off by heart because of, what feels like a 24 hour running of CBeebies in our house!)

I have also included a sheet in your child’s diary (along with the number formation one I forgot last week) with some rhymes I will be using to help your child remember the days of the week.

Physical Development
Parachute game

The children will learn to use the parachute correctly with the rules and guidelines prior to them using it in their maths activity. It is hoped that the children will be able to use the parachute in their outdoor play throughout the week.

Butterfly Dance
The children will develop their movements of circling, sliding, small and large actions, twirling and turning etc to accompany the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Body changes
Throughout our physical activities the children will be encouraged to talk about how their body changes.

Running challenge
The children are to be given two cones and they are to have a five minute sand timer. They are to work with a partner to count how many times they can run backwards and forwards and record it on a chart with their name. They are to try and beat their score throughout the week.

Dancing caterpillars
Provide the children with straws and paper circles and butterfly templates to cut out to make a dancing caterpillar or butterfly puppet.

Creative Development
Can you make something for in the butterfly garden?
There will be a tray of soil and after discussions with the children, following the reading of the story The Butterfly, the children will be set the challenge of making something for them to create the small world play Butterfly Garden. In teams the children will be asked to make a list of what they think they might need. This could be butterflies puppets, flowers, leaves etc. The list will be placed up by the craft table for ideas. A range of different collage and natural materials will be in the craft area to allow the children access to them for their creative work. Bits of florist block will be placed in the soil for the flowers to be stuck in.

Acetate butterflies
The children are to make symmetrical butterfies using acetate, permenant marker pens and oil pastels. The children can also add detail through the use of sequins and tissue paper etc. These will be displayed as a mobile over the butterfly garden.

How do we make a giant caterpillar?
The children are to use rolled up newspaper to create a giant caterpillar. They will paint and decorate it. This will be on the grass in front of the classroom. If you have any old newspapers please send them in. also, any old shirts and t-shirts that can be used as aprons would be greatly appreciated as well as a prayer for nice weather!

Butterfly wings
Material with loops for hands will be placed in boxes and doodlebug headbands will be available for the children to act out the story.

Large butterfly life cycle display
The children are to work collaboratively on a large display piece for the classroom which shows the life cycle of a butterfly. This will include captions and labels for the different stages of development.

To link in with our theme of the week, the children will learn the days of the week in Spanish. Here they are for you if you wish to learn them. Don’t worry I have included the pronuciation!
Sunday – Domingo (as in Placido!)
Monday – Lunes (loo-ness)
Tuesday – Martes
Wednesday – Miercoles (me-air-col-es)
Thursday – Jueves (cwe-bes)
Friday – Viernes (be-er-nes)
Saturday – Sabado

Needless to say we will be teaching the children the Spanish for the different stages of the life cycle. Here goes…
Egg – el huevo (el hu-ebo)
Caterpillar – la oruga
Pupa – la crisalida
Butterfly – la mariposa

Bits and bobs
Mum’s watch out for a very special gift lovingly created just for you. Have a great Mother’s Day.

Wellies - if you have any spare wellies at home that are no longer in use we would love to have them.

I look forwards to meeting you all this week at parents’ evening. I have so many wonderful things to share with you.

Take care, have a great week and don’t forget to pray for nice weather.

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxxxx

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