Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let's ROAR into the last half term!!!

Hi there!

I hope you have all had a lovely and relaxing holiday as this half term is absolutely filled with fantastic things to do! Can you believe that we are now in the final half term of your child being in their first year of schooling? Yes, this is the half term that we really step up a gear and prepare your child for Year 1.

So what will we be doing this week?


The boys have driven us mad over their love of dinosaurs and so we are going to use this half term to encourage them to write with more independence. We hate to say this but they probably know so much more about dinosaurs than we do and so we have decided to use the content they have to develop their writing skills.

In order to achieve all the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Foundation Stage Year, the children need to be able to write a sentence INDEPENDENTLY. Updating my assessments over the holidays has shown that there is lots of evidence of the girls CHOOSING to write of their own initiation, with the boys preferring to build and construct. Therefore, the use of this topic on dinosaurs is aimed at giving the boys something to write about which will enable them to achieve the goal by the end of June when the results have to be submitted.

So what about the girls?
They will be given a choice as to whether they would like to do the work on dinosaurs or if they would like to develop their story writing on the theme of traditional tales.

Communication, Language and Literacy
The focus on writing will last for three weeks, and by the end of those three week, the children:

MUST be able to write a sentence independently with a full stop.
SHOULD be able to write a sentence independently with a capital letter and a full stop.
COULD write a series of sentences with developing consistency in the use of punctuation.

Here are some websites that you could use but nothing beats pencil and paper. - this is a lovely website. The children must type in their sentence and then watch the penguin write it in the ice.
CHALLENGE! You can also use the same website to develop their understanding of other punctuation such as exclamation and question marks. Yes, we do those in Foundation Stage so why not have a go! - another good site to focus on development of the capital letters and full stops. It should now be clear why we have focused on the letter names as well as the letter sounds. This way the children know what the upper case letter represents.
CHALLENGE! Have a go at the main teaching session one where you need to identify the faults in the punctuation and correct them. - Click and drag the prepared tabs to create a sentence.
CHALLENGE! Why not get some pictures from a magazine and write your own sentences to match what you can see happening.

This week will be used to ensure that the children have retained their ability to read and spell words containing the spelling patterns taught last half term. For your information here is a list of the ones we have covered.

Ai, ee, oo, or, ar, oa, igh, ur, ow, oi and ear.

Please refer back to previous blog entries for websites to support these. Alternatively you may wish to be word detectives and locate words in books and magazines which contain the spelling patterns.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
This week we return to developing the children’s understanding of SHAPE. By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to name, describe and identify a 2D shape from its description;
SHOULD be able to name all the 2D and 3D shapes;
COULD be able to name, describe and identify any 2D or 3D shape from its description.

Here are some great websites fro you to have a go at. - the children review their recognition of 2d shapes and then look for them in pictures. The children also get the opportunity to create their own shape picture on the computer. - a good website for seeing how models are make up of 3D shapes. - a great website. The children must catch the given shape but no others. - shape sorting activity according to properties. - a good website to help the children match, find, build and discover the properties of the 2D shapes. - the children can copy shape pictures by clicking and dragging them. They can then go on to create their own. - parts of a shape are shown and the children have to guess the shape. - this is a fantastic game to help the children develop their visual memory techniques. the children have to guess the shape as it is revealed. They can chose to use 2d or 3d shapes. - 3D shape matching game. - a good website. The children have to identify the shape that is partially hidden in sand and then click on the correct labelled picture. - identifying 2D and 3D shapes. - guess the 3D shape. -by clicking on the shapes label you will be able to make patterns with 2D shapes. If you also click on the space row under 3D and 2D shapes you will have to sort different shapes according to the given criteria.

Alternatively, you could go on a shape walk around the house or local area and see what shapes you can find.

CHALLENGE! Why not write some clues about a shape and see if the class can guess what shape it is?

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
This week we focus on model making. Please can you collect any junk materials that we could use. Thanks. Each child is to make their own junk model of whatever they want to use. They will be asked to make a design first and decide what materials they are going to use. You may wish to talk to your child about what they would like to make as this will give them more time to make their model.

Physical Development
This week we will be practicing for sports day which has been planned for July 8th with July 10th as the reserve if the weather is bad. In addition to this, the children will be developing their use of positional language and movement skills through the use of an obstacle course in our outdoor play area.

Creative Development
This half term we will be really developing the children’s musical skills. They will be working on using the instruments to add to accompaniment to stories and poems. They will learn about maintaining a steady beat.

Other bits and bobs…
Please could we ask that you do not let the children play on the outdoor equipment prior to the start of the school day? This does include the sand pit and the house. Thanks in anticipation of your support.

I think that is all for this week.

Take care
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hi there

What an amazing time we had at the Blue Planet last Friday. The children astounded the workshop leader with their knowledge of what lives underwater, and even automatically counted in Spanish when she asked the children to count the number of legs a star fish had. The children were a real credit to the school and yourselves. Many thanks to the parents who came with us. You’re real gems.

As it is the last week of the half term it will be ASSESSMENT and REVIEW week of the children’s learning over this half term, and preparation for the final half term of their time in Reception.

In Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy we will be reviewing:
Measuring heights using the language taller and shorter

Please refer back to previous blogs for suitable websites to support these areas.

In Communication, Language and Literacy, we will be:
Updating high frequency words
Assessing writing skills through writing a recount of their visit to the Blue Planet Aquarium
Phonics taught so far

Again, please refer back to the previous blog spots for websites to support this. You may wish to work with your child on their writing of sentences more this week.

Creative Development
Last week we also started a large drape on The Rainbow Fish, using batik. Mrs Higgins will be completing this with the children this week.

In addition to this, Mrs Latham and Mrs Kirkham will be using chicken wire with the children to make large sea creature sculptures. We have never attempted this before so fingers crossed it will work.

Physical Development
The children will be continuing to develop the skills needed for sports day this week. We will confirm the date of sports day and let you know.

A short and sweet blog this week!

Have a great week!

Best wishes
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!!!

Hi there!

What a lovely weekend we have had and, with the promise of yet more lovely weather your child’s protection is paramount. Some of you have already sent in sun cream and sun hats. We will ensure that your child wears both if they are provided. It is vital that they have these as our curriculum is outdoors throughout the day as well as indoors. Please could you apply the sun cream before you bring your child to school and then we will just ‘top it up’ at lunchtime. Many thanks.

Well, on Friday we have our visit to the Blue Planet to look forward to, and last week we made a cracking start on developing the children’s knowledge of the sea creatures they will encounter through our electronic big book. The children are firmly aware of the features of a page in a non-fiction book, and even went on to independently create their own information books in the writing area. Absolutely amazing! On Friday last week, all the children completed some writing about their favourite sea creature and I was so spoilt for choice which to show Mr Barker, that I took the whole lot to him. He was amazed at the level of writing of our children. - Have a closer look at some other sea creatures. - get some information about sea life animals as well as playing a few games too.

All our activities in Creative Development and Knowledge and Understanding of the World will be linked to the theme of sea creatures.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to recognise all the coins to £2
SHOULD be able to pay for items in a shop with 1p or 2p coins
COULD be able to give change from 10p when purchasing items in the class shop.

Here are some good websites but nothing beats playing shop at home and using really coins. - an evaluation copy but okay to use - as above but with a one minute timer - as above but with a one minute timer - as above but with a one minute timer - a great game for developing those addition skills. Remember to count on from the largest number. - this can be a bit of a challenge but some children will be able to do it with a bit of help.

By the end of the week, the children:
MUST be able to identify and differentiate between the sounds ‘or’ and ‘ar’, being able to read and spell words containing them
SHOULD know the spelling patterns ‘ur’, ‘ow’, ‘oi’ and ‘ear’.
COULD be able to read and spell words containing the above spelling patterns. - you will need to type in some words for the children to blend to read. This is a friendly way of helping your child to read the words containing the spelling patterns we have used so far as well as ones we will be focusing on this week. - a great game to help speed up reading simple three letter words. Have a go also on some of the others. - the old chestnut!

Physical Development
The children will continue to focus on their throwing and catching skills and we will begin to practise some skills for sport’s day.

Here I Am
We begin our next topic on BUILDING BRIDGES. The children will learn to:
RECOGNISE what a friend is.
REFLECT on people they have met in school.
RESPECT and appreciate that they have friends.
The children will record their understanding of this by creating an information book for our new intake.

I think that is all for this week.

Have a good week!

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

Monday, May 05, 2008

Welcome back after a lovely long weekend. We only have four days this week so we’ll have to really get our skates on to get through everything.

One of our main goals is to make sure that every child comes into school on their own from now on. Your support in this would be much appreciated as we need to prepare the children for Year 1.

The main theme of the children’s learning until the end of this half term is ANIMALS. This is a great topic, which is enhanced by a visit to the Blue Planet Aquarium. You should receive a letter this week with the details. Please complete the permission slip and return it as soon as possible so we can confirm numbers. Thanks. If anyone can accompany us on the trip please call in and see a member of the team.

Communication, Language and Literacy
We being this week with a review of the children’s understanding of non-fiction books and their features: a contents page, an index, photographs, caption and labels. This is the perfect opportunity for the children to become members of the local library. Why not loan some information books on animals that live under the sea?

By the end of the week, the children:
MUST be able to identify and name the features of a non-fiction text;
SHOULD be able to understand how a contents page is used;
COULD be able to use a contents page to answer questions.

The children will be working on a non-fiction book I created after a visit on to the Blue Planet. The children will have the opportunity to learn lots about the creatures they will see prior to their visit. In addition to this, the children will create a new page for the book after their visit.

As always we will be continuing to work on the children’s high frequency words and phonics. The children’s high frequency words will play a major role now as they begin to form sentences and develop their reading even more. Please endeavour to practice them every night for about 5 minutes at a time.

By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to read and spell words containing ‘or’ and ‘ar’;
SHOULD be able to identify the spelling patterns for ‘oi’ and ‘ow’;
COULD be able to read and spell words containing all four patterns.

Here are some great websites to focus on phonics. Alternatively, you can get a newspaper and highlight words containing the spelling patterns. - a snap game to help the children quickly identify the letter patterns in words. - I would recommend this website to support the blending of sounds together when reading. - a great website with different levels. Start at the medium level and then work on from there at your own pace. - I really like this one. You could easily have a go at sections 1 and 2. - a great little video! - select the games to play with our spelling patterns in them.

Mathematical Development
We have been amazed at the children’s understanding of the concept of addition and will continue to develop this through its application to real-life problems. Therefore, we start this week with a look at subtraction. By the end of this week, the children:

MUST be able to work out one less than a given number to 10;
SHOULD be able to understand that subtraction involves ‘taking away’ and carry out simple subtraction sums with support;
COULD be able to independently subtract one number from another in real-life situations.

The following websites should be a good start for you and your child. However, never under estimate the power of food to help children understand subtraction. the children must put in a number and then find one less before the machine works the answer out. - for those children who can subtract one mentally than this a real challenge for them. - this is a great website for the children to learn how to apply their understanding of subtraction to word problems. - this is a great website too with the actual subtraction sum written out for the children. They must type in the answer and then press enter to bowl the bowling ball towards the skittles. Fabulous fun but try it with real skittles!!! If you haven’t got any real skittles at home try filling plastic pop bottles with a bit of sand. As long as the ball is heavy enough to knock them over then it will work. - WOW! Once I actually worked out how to use this game I was mesmerised for ages. You have to count how many aliens and then click on the number. Then you work out how many were taken away. - great for generating subtraction sums but remember to select level 1. - for all those budding footballers out there. This is a great site for helping the children that when zero is taken away from a number then the same number remains. For those footie fans out there it may be the only chance England have of beating Brazil!!! - always a good start to review the language of ‘less’ which is a precursor to subtraction. - good for those children developing their number recognition to 20. - great for developing the recognition and writing of numbers to 20. - naughty that we are…or should we say that we are pure genius!?! The children are working on counting in tens to 100. This is a great game for those children learning numbers beyond 20 but with an adult, all the children can access this if they count in tens. - as always this websites provides really good activities for the children to do. Start with the Reception/Foundation Stage link and then as your child progresses move onto the Year 1 activities. We do have many children who will be able to access it.

In addition to all the work on subtraction we are doing, we will also be preparing the children for the work we will be doing next week on money. With Uncle Visa and Auntie Switch being very much the currency of today, children find it difficult to manipulate, use and understand the value of the different coins. I remember having 10p to go and get a 10p mix, but what can they get for that now? Anyway…we will begin to teach the children how to recognise the different coins this week. Any help with this at home would be very worthwhile.

Physical Development
This week we will be having a little assessment of the skills the children were taught before the Easter break. These areas will include:
Using small and large equipment, showing a range of basic skills e.g rolling, throwing, catching and kicking a ball;, balancing a beanbag on a bat and target activities;
Cutting skills

Creative Development
The children will create underwater pictures using a range of different collage materials. They will also create their own fish and give it a name. The children will also investigate how colours are mixed to create new ones. PLEASE REMEMBER TO SEND IN A CLEAR PLASTIC BOTTLE FOR TUESDAY.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
The children will learn to sort and classify different animals according to their habitat. Do they live in water or on land? Can they fly? Etc. The children will record their understanding in pictures and in written form. You may wish to talk with your child about different animals in preparation for this.

In ICT, the children will create a friend for the main character in the story ‘The Fish Who Could Wish’. The children will learn how to use the shape icons on the art program we have in school. Once again they will develop their pattern making skills when they can decorate their character.

This week, the children will learn some of the names of the different sea-life creatures. Here are some of them for you. Hopefully the phonetic pronunciation is okay.

Esto es – This is…
A fish – un pescado ( oon pescado);
A sea horse – un caballo de mar (oon cabayo dey mar)
A shark – un Tiburon
An octopus – un pulpo
A dolphin – un delfin
A whale – una bellena (oona beyena)
A jellyfish – una medusa
A starfish – una estrella de mar (oona estraya dey mar)
A crab – un cangrejo (oon cangrecho – the ch is pronounced as in loch)
A frog – una rana

Good luck!!!

And the surprise…
This week a message in a bottle will be left from a deep sea diver who has found a magical city under the sea. The children will be encouraged to use the writing table to write back to him. The children will place their message in a bottle and ‘throw’ it into the ocean to see if they get a reply. (Of course this is all make believe and the ocean is actually a piece of blue material, but hey who cares? The imagination of a child has no limits!)

That’s all for now.

Have a fabulous week!
Best wishes
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx