Saturday, March 29, 2008

Learn to read then read to learn!


That is all I can say to describe the amazing Easter bonnets paraded at the end of last term. Needless to say, I was not a judge as I am far too emotional to make a choice between one angel’s bonnet and another. Please do not fret for a photograph has been taken for a keepsake and, for you to use when their 18th birthday approaches! And now…

Can you actually believe that it is in this half term last year that you met the team you decided to entrust with your child’s education? Well believe me it is. The nerves are now beginning to flutter in my stomach as I contemplate the fact that not only do I have to stand up in front of LOTS of new faces, but our little darlings who we love and have nurtured are now being prepared to flee the nest and transfer to Year 1. (Now I know what my dad went through when I got married). HOWEVER, I do need volunteers to come along to the new intake meeting and put new parent’s minds at rest that we are not raving loonatics! Even if we ask children to kiss baked beans and truly believe that the Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk corresponds with us via The Beanstalk Mail!

YES! We have a letter? But of course! Never? I could go on…but I won’t. The giant refuses to let the beanstalk grow any further for fear that his belongings will be stolen once again. A ploy? Yes, only to get the children writing. Yet a very good ploy as this is the term when the children flourish and blossom into writers of the future and beyond. (Mmm…felt like I was an extra on Star Trek then! Not good! Apologies to any trekkies reading this week’s blog) Our classroom has been transformed and we now have a Giant’s castle to role play in and…I am sooooo excited about this! But it is a secret and your child will have to tell you what we have in place of the Doctor’s surgery.

Student Teacher
As you may be aware we have the benefit of a final year student, Lauren Scott, who will be doing her final teaching practice with us next week. Lauren has been fully informed of the level at which your child is working and Mrs Higgins and Mrs Latham will be supporting her as normal. I have been banished to the depths of…no seriously…thankfully some teachers did it for me many, many years ago and made me the teacher I am today. So, a seven week holiday in Barbados then? No such luck! I shall be working with some Year 2 children about fantasy world (somehow I don’t think it will be too challenging for me, imaginary worlds, fantasy fiction! Can I tell the difference between reality and fantasy?), and Year 3 children on phonics but will observe my class in the afternoon and continue to do their handwriting and phonics work. Leave my babies? No way. I shall be teaching them every Thursday though. Mmm…what will I have up my sleeve then? During this time please make sure that any correspondence and information is passed directly onto me or Mrs Higgins. I shall always be available should you need to see me at any point and the blog spot will continue as normal.

So what have we in store for this week?
Thanks to Mrs Harding, our science leader, we have a science show on Friday morning. Therefore, this week will be very much science based. As I mentioned in the blog before Easter, we will be looking at materials. This will also form some of our art work for the theme of ‘Echoes’ for the Primary Arts Exhibition at the Gateway. In addition to this, our theme of materials also lends itself to our one week maths topic on sorting. By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to sort objects and materials by a given criteria;
SHOULD be able to sort objects and materials according to their own criteria;
COULD be able to record their sorting in a diagrammatic form.

You may wish to support your child by having a look around the house and outside environment, discussing with them what things are made of and why. Remember to use all the sense. What does it smell like? Feel like? Sound like? Etc. Here are some good websites to support the children in their learning: - this is a good website for the children to consolidate their understanding of the different properties of materials. We shall be investigating which materials will be best for making a raincoat for a Incy Wincy Spider so he doesn’t get wet when it rains. Perhaps you too could test out some different materials. Remember it needs to be bendy and waterproof. - the children will work on sorting different objects according to their materials and properties. This website consolidates their understanding but a look at household objects first would be a great idea. - this is good once they understand the different materials.

As part of the theme of materials the children will be exploring magnets. This is one of my most dominant memories of primary school. I am still fascinated by them now. Why not explore things around the house that attract the magnets but remember to stay clear from the TV! - this website is a little older (actually KS2) but I think the children will be okay just investigating what the magnets will pick up and thinking about what they are made of.

All the assessments of letter sounds and names were completed at the end of the last half term. If your child does still need to work on a few I will write them in their diary this week. Believe it or not, they fit on a little label now! In class this week we will be reviewing the sounds ‘oo’, ‘ai’ and ‘ee’. The children are pretty familiar with ‘oo’ and ‘ee’ as I have often referred to them in class previously. I shall be using this week to focus on the children’s spelling and sounding out of words using the letter sounds they have been taught. This will form the basis of the records for Miss Scott to ensure that the children are working at the correct level. Here are some websites to support the children. By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to identify all the letter sounds and names;
SHOULD be able to orally segment and blend simple three letter words;
COULD read and spell more complex words containing the sounds ‘ee’, ‘oo’ and ‘ai’. - click on Daisy the Snail. This is the poem the children will be learning this week to help them learn the sound ‘ai’. - another poem for ‘oo’. - I love this poem to help the children reinforce ‘ee’. - this page has some wonderful print and do activities. Why not have a go at making your own poem containing the sounds of the week? - a good website which has our new sounds in but also helps prepare for others to follow. - again has other sounds but will help prepare the children. - this will be used in class to help the children. Give them a word and they can drag the cards into the frames. To find ‘ee’, ‘oo’, and ‘ai’ click on the rainbow and it will change for you. - a good website for helping with those blending skills. - good old starfall! Click on Pete the Sheep and the games associated with it.

Tuesday sees the launch of The Year of Reading. Reading is vital to life long learning. A quote from a good friend of mine over the holidays was: ‘You begin by learning to read, and then you read to learn.’ Let this be the moto for this year across the whole country. Take time out to enjoy a novel, read a magazine, catch up on a sporting article, just read for pleasure. You can not imagine the impact that it will have on your child seeing you as a reader. Remember that Penketh library is not too far away. Why not join if you are not a member already. Penketh library celebrates its anniversary this year too. Each child will receive a special gift to mark the launch of this very special year. Enjoy your read! I have spent much of my holiday with my nose in a book, much to the neglect of my housework. I am currently reading ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak. If anyone fancies it afterwards I will be leaving a book swap basket outside the classroom door starting next week. Just pick it up and take it and if you have one you’d like to swap just pop it in the basket for others to share.

Sponsor money

It would be greatly appreciated if any outstanding sponsored Boogie Woogie money could be returned to school by the end of this week so we can collate it and send off the cheque. Many thanks to you all for your generosity.

PE Kits
We will be doing PE on Monday morning. Please make sure that your child does have their PE Kit. Thanks. Do not worry if your child forgot theirs on the last day it has been washed and ironed at Widow Narraway’s Laundrette and is ready for getting filthy again!

I think that is all for this week.

Have a great one!

Best wishes Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

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