Friday, February 15, 2008

How do we grow and change?


Welcome back to the start of a new half term. Can you believe that your child is half way through their first year in school? Time has flown which means only one thing…lots of FUN has been had by all. This half term will be no different as we begin our new topic on CHANGES.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
We begin the topic by looking at changes in people as they get older. A great story book to read to your child would be Martin Waddell’s ‘Once there were giants’. Perhaps you could also get out those embarrassing family photographs and let your child see how you have changed from being a baby to the way you look now. The children must be able to sequence simple pictures from youngest to oldest by the end of the week. In order for the children to focus on themselves please could I ask that you send in a baby photograph of your child. PLEASE do not send in a highly treasured one as they will be handled by the children. You will get them back at the end of the year. Thanks.

Creative Development
This week is one of my favourite weeks! We will be looking at the work of Vincent Van Gogh and in particular his painting Sunflowers. We will be looking at shades of colour and the use of texture when painting and drawing. The children will use a range of media including collage materials, oil pastels, chalks and paint. Watch out for our classroom transforming into an art gallery, with a range of media being used to represent the work of Van Gogh. In order to stimulate the children’s understanding of the fantastic artist I will be sharing with them the story of Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt. This is one of my most favourite books as it helps great art become more accessible to young children.

Communication, Language and Literacy
In order to help the children move towards achieving their reading targets we will be doing a two week unit on labels, captions and instructions. This also helps us to link in with the work we are doing on changes in Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

By the end of the two weeks, the children:
COULD be able to write a caption to accompany a picture.
SHOULD be able to create a labelled diagram and understand the purpose of a caption.
MUST be able to know what a label is and know how to read a diagram.

These are some good websites which I shall be using with the children in class. However, a visit to Penketh library to pick out some non-fiction books is the best way of making it real to the children. In particular, the boys in our class respond to non-fiction books on dinosaurs and animals.

The children will be labelling the external parts of the human body and the parts of a flowering plant to support their understanding of the importance and use of diagrams for information.

Nearly every child can recognise the letters sounds of the letters of the alphabet. This is truly amazing so early in the school year. It is our aim to have 100% of the children recognising the letter sounds by Easter. To enable you to assist us in this, I will have updated every child’s letter sounds and letter names in their diaries by the end of the school day on Monday. The letters indicated are the remaining ones for your child to work on.

In our phonics teaching this week we will be reviewing all the letters learned so far, and start to teach the phonemes: l, ll, ss, zz, ff.

Your child may have talked about ‘c’ and ‘k’, the two letters that love each other. Well, ‘ss’, ‘ll’, ‘zz’ and ‘ff’ are also very friendly letters. They too make one sound at the same time.

Throughout the week, the children will be asked to blend and segment words containing letters they have already learned and the new phonemes of the week. Here are some websites that will support the blending of the words in order to read them and others that support spelling. - this website asks you to see how many words you can make - great for blending sounds together. For those children who are already able to spell and read simple three letter words then try out these websites as they will focus on the spelling of consonant clusters in words e.g bl, cl, st, sm etc.

High Frequency Words
This half term we aim to ensure that all the children are up to where they should be by the end of the Spring Term. Please remember that going through the high frequency words is needed virtually every night. These are worth spending the time on as they will help your child develop more confidence and independence when tackling new texts. There is also some good news at the end of all this…the Year 1 words are actually a little easier and the children tend to pick them up very quick. - this focuses on high frequency words - this concentrates on the spelling of the high frequency words. You can simply type in the high frequency words that your child needs to work on for them to play the game with.

In your child's diary this week you will also have an update on their reading targets. Please remember to make at least one comment about your child's reading in the diary. You could comment on the targets they are working on. Thanks.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Number
Amazed! Dumbfounded! Astonished! These are a just a few words to describe how I am feeling about the children’s development in this area of the curriculum. This week we continue with our number recognition to 20, number formation and ability to order numbers. Believe it or not ALL our class can recognise all the numbers to 10 already. This has never been done before by any other class!!! Therefore, we shall be working beyond the Early Learning Goals on Year 1 objectives.

By the end of the week, the children:
COULD be able to read and write all numbers 20 and order them.
SHOULD be able to read and order the numbers to 20.
MUST be able to write and order the numbers to 10.

Here are some great websites to support the recognition and ordering of numbers to 20. - the children are presented with a teddy bear and a jar of sweets. The computer generates a number between 1 and 15 and the children need to drag the given number of sweets into the bear’s tummy. - the children must listen to the number given and then post the letter through the corresponding door. - this is a real challenge for those children who can already recognise the numbers to 20. Encourage your child to say the target number out loud before finding it. - this is a good website for supporting number formation. - the children need to order the random numbers by placing the numbered hats on the children’s heads. - remember to select the numbers to 20. - missing numbers on a number track. The children click and drag them into place. The children should be able to access all three levels. - one that we have had before but remember to alter the minimum and maximum range of numbers to accommodate your child’s range of recognition. - click on the possum and python.

Number formation
Number formation is crucial at this stage and is something that we really need to develop in the children. However, whilst they are learning their letter formation, reversals often occur. I have enclosed a copy of the way we form numbers for your information. This week we are starting with the numbers 1, 2 and 3. A good thing to try is a tray of salt and ask the children to form the number in it. This is also a good way to be a little more environmentally friendly too!

In Spanish this week, the children will be reviewing their knowledge of colours and the different parts of the human body.

Here I Am
Due to the week we spent on the Chinese New Year we are a little behind on our Here I Am. We begin our topic on Thanksgiving. The children will learn to:
RECOGNISE that people give to each other.
REFLECT on all that is done for them by others.
RESPECT and appreciate that they have a lot to say thank you for.

Throughout the week the children will be making Thank you cards for someone who helps

We have a lovely assembly for the children on Monday presented by CAFOD, our chosen charity. We also have a Good Shepherd box in our classroom if children want to donate any spare change to be given to the charity during Lent.

Other bits and bobs…
We welcome another adult into our classroom this week, Miss Vicky Bott. She will be working with our class every Tuesday and Wednesday. She trained for her NVQ Level 1 with us a two years ago and is now returning to us to continue her training at a higher level.

Please could I ask that all outstanding parents’ evening slips be sent in on Monday to enable times to be finalised.

I believe that is all for now.

Take care and keep an eye out for your appointment time in the diary.

Kind regards

Jayne Narraway and the (ever expanding) Foundation Stage Team xx

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