Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue????

Hi there

We had a great week last week learning lots of Spanish. Now the children have got the 'bug' we will continue to develop the children's ability to speak a second language throughout the school year. We did begin to teach the children the spanish colour song but much to our surprise found that a large number of the children do not know the names of the colours in English. Please could you take the time to check this out with your child at home and reinforce the colours as much as possible. Thanks.

Here I Am

Last week we began our new topic INVITATIONS. Of course, this does imply party, party, party to me so...we will be developing the children's writing skills by learning about writing inivitations to their teddies for a teddy bear's picnic for Golden Time. This is another great opportunity to practise the children's name writing skills. You should have received an update of how your child is doing with regards to their name writing via their diary. Please continue to practise at home as the children do need to write their names at least four times in the day and the inability to do so is frustrating some children.

This week is ASSESSMENT and REVIEW week. This is when we assess what the children have been taught and prepare for learning after half term.

Communication, Language and Literacy

We had a really good laugh using our alliterative names this week, with the children only being allowed to call us Naughty Narraway, Laughing Latham, Lovely Lockett, Happy Higgins and Lucky Lambert.

The children are doing really well learning the focus letters and you will also receive an update on how your child is doing with regards the acquisition of the letter names and sounds for Ss, Tt, Ii, Aa and Pp. This week we will split into different groups to teach this area of learning.

By the end of the week, the children:
MUST be able to hear the initial sounds in words and match objects and words beginning with the same initial letter sound (have an awareness of alliteration)
SHOULD be able to recognise the letter names and sounds for Ss, Tt, Pp, Ii and Aa.
COULD be able to use the above letters sounds to orally segment and blend words for reading and writing.

A great way of developing their understanding of initial letters is to play I SPY. Being a mum of a four year old too I am glad to see the days of 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with T' only to find they were thinking of a window or something bizarre like that! You could also play treasure hunt where the children could hunt for objects around the house for things beginning with each of the focus letters.

Please also refer back to last week's blog for websites to support this area of learning.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

This week we will be continuing with the work we have been doing on patterns. As always I was completely over the top when I planned for the learning experiences the children would have available to them last week and so we will be continuing with them this week. Please refer to the websites from last week to support their learning.

As it is assessment and review week, you will receive an update on how your child is doing with regards their number recognition, counting and pattern making. Please do not worry where your child is at in comparison with others in their class. Each child is special and unique and therefore, starting points are always different.

A look into the future

The children have shown a real interest in the animals with patterns through our work in Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy. However, it has come to our attention that they do need to develop their recognition of some animals. Therefore, I have arranged for the class to visit Chester Zoo after half term. A letter will be sent out to you this week with the details. If you are able to assist us on the day please call in and see a member of the team. We need three more adults.

Parent's Evening

You will have received a letter about parents' evening. Please be aware that appointments are made on a first come first served basis. Please give as many options as possible and I will aim to accommodate you.

That's all for this week. Have a great holiday!

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

Sunday, October 12, 2008



Welcome to la semana Espanola! Yes…this week is Spanish week.

This week your child may begin to come out with the odd phrase in Spanish. They will be learning to say the sign of the cross in Spanish and saying Buenas Dias to the register in the morning. Thanks to Dora the Explorer counting in Spanish will be a doddle! As part of their Golden Time treat they will be having a tapas party. We will also be teaching the children a Spanish colour song which quickly becomes their favourite. For your reference here are the Spanish names for the colours with the phonetic pronunciation next to them in brackets.

Blue – azul (athul)
Yellow – amarillo (Did you start to sing then? I did. Amareeyo)
Black – Negro
White – blanco
Green – verde (berday)
Purple – violeta (bee-o-leta)
Grey – gris (grease)
Brown – marron
Orange – naranja (naranka)
Pink – rosa

To further support their colour recognition and fine motor skill development, the children will look at the work of Antoni Gaudi, a famous Spanish artist. They are going to create a large mosaic of Elmer the elephant whilst reinforcing their knowledge of the colours in Spanish. Here are some examples of Gaudi’s work.

Communication, Language and Literacy
By the end of this week, the children:

MUST have an understanding of rhyme
SHOULD be able to continue a rhyming string
COULD be able to identify the initial sounds in words and match words with the same sound.

This week we will be focusing on ALLITERATION. What is this you may ask? Put very simply, it is when words or phrases begin with the same sound, e.g Sammy snake sits on sausages. (Ooooh, you wouldn’t want to eat them after that!) This is often hilariously funny as we give the children alliterative names that we call them all week. For example, Brilliant Bethany and Jolly Jamie. We too have our alliterative names that the children can call us all week. Why not call each other by alliterative names at home?

In order for your child to be able to develop their understanding of letters and sounds, I have compiled a list of good websites but don’t forget that I spy is a great game to play to support his area of literacy.

http://www.starfall.com/ - this is a great all-rounder. Remember to encourage your child to use the letters they are unsure of. I will stick this information in your child’s diary this week.
http://www.ictgames.com/phonic_fighter4.html - I love this game!
http://www.channel4.com/learning/microsites/H/hoobs/activities/interactiveActivities.jsp?id=letters - activities 12 and 13 are good for helping with identifying the initial letters.
http://www.ictgames.com/phonemeFlop_v4.html - this is great and the sounds are said correctly too.

We haven’t forgotten about rhyme though. The children who need to continue developing their understanding of rhyme will have some very funny activities to do. An example that you could try at home is ‘rhyming soup’.
Collect a large bowl, a spoon and selection of objects that rhyme e.g a toy cat, a hat, a table mat. Then sing this song to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel

I’m making silly soup
I’m making soup that’s silly
I’m going to put it in the fridge
To make it nice and chilly
In goes… a cat… a hat…a mat.

You sing the song each time an object is added. Go on have a go, I know you want to. This can also be applied to the alliteration as the objects going into the soup can all begin with the same sound.

Mathematical Development
By the end of this week, the children:

MUST be able to copy a pattern in a variety of contexts
SHOULD be able to copy and continue a pattern in a variety of contexts
COULD be able to copy, continue and create a pattern in a variety of contexts.

This is the main class target for the week. Whenever your child is doing any pattern making please encourage them to verbalise the pattern as this helps incredibly with their ability to continue it. A good start may be to have a walk around the house, the garden and the local area and look for patterns all around them. Patterns can be seen on leaves, the patterns of brickwork on houses, pine cones etc. Patterns are everywhere!

Here are some great websites for you to try out too.
http://demo.iboard.co.uk/screens/thread_home.htm?thread_id=7 - select the animals sound one and see if you can make a musical pattern with the animal noises.
http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/simple_patterns/eng/Introduction/default.htm - the children have the opportunity to continue a repeating pattern using colours, shapes and pictures.
http://crickweb.co.uk/assets/resources/flash.php?&file=beads - a string of beads at two levels, one with 6 beads and a second with 10 beads. The children must make repeating patterns using the colour palette provided.
http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/building_game/eng/Introduction/default.htm - in part two or three of this game the children have the opportunity to make a pattern for themselves.
http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/numeracy-explorer/powerpoint/patter.ppt - a great powerpoint to support the children’s learning of how to continue a repeating pattern.
http://www.rainforestmaths.com/ - click on the pattern label to enter the correct game. Remember to start on the reception level.

The end of the week will see the children receiving a letter from Jack and Jill’s mother (as in the nursery rhyme). She is concerned that her poor darlings are getting cold whilst they are in hospital. Could we design them a blanket with lots of wonderful pattern on? The children will be given calico on which to make their patterns. This will be the first time that the children will have encountered having to work as a team to complete a project. I’m sure they will do a great job.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World and Creative Development
The children will further develop their pattern making skills on the computer and we will get to use the new laptops. Fantastic! Patterned musical compositions will be completed as well as some great animal masks all linked to patterns of course.

A date for your diary
The Foundation Stage Induction Meeting is on Tuesday of this week at 6.30pm. I hope you will have lots of fun and found it informative about the way we teach your children. For those who were unable to attend, please do not fret for there will be opportunities to experience some of the activities again when I hold our reading workshop after half term. Details of this will be forwarded next week. Please do not bring your child with you to this meeting. We are holding it later in the day so child care arrangements can be met.

Reading diaries

Please could I ask that all parents write in their child’s diary when they have read with them. This helps us to monitor the effectiveness of reading outside of school. Many thanks in anticipation of your valued support.

Finally…the children are doing great coming in on their own and many thanks for your support in easing the morning chaos. Could I make a plea now not to stand for too long at the window and doors waving as this can cause upset too. Equally, last week we had lots of parents and grandparents standing at windows around the classroom when we are trying to get the children ready at home time. I know it is tempting but please try to stand back so that we can get the children ready and be on time for the end of the school day. Being on time is vital as Penketh South finish 15minutes after us and we need the traffic to have disappeared before they come out of school. Many thanks in anticipation of your support in this.

I think that is all for this week. Phew! This week was a long one.

Have a great week.

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Izzy Whizzy let's get busy!!

Hi there!

Welcome to this week’s blog. We have lots of exciting activities in store for the children this week. So…without further a do I’ll begin!

Communication, Language and Literacy
We continue our work on rhyme this week and it is hoped that, by the end of this week, the children:

COULD be able to continue a rhyming string;
SHOULD be able to identify the rhyming words in a poem, rhyme or story;
MUST be able to join in with a simple rhyme.

We will have a special visitor called Izzy Whizzy, a rhyming witch (aka Mrs Latham – have you guessed she liked to dress up?). She will add that little bit of magic to the week where she will set the children with the challenge of thinking of as many rhyming words for certain words. She will return on Friday to see how they have got on.

The children will achieve these targets by looking at tradition nursery rhymes. You may wish to check out these websites to support your child. Please remind them to join in with the actions too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/laac/music/fdi.shtml - a good website for listening to rhymes
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/laac/words/dg3.shtml - this site helps the children to match rhyming words but you will need to sit with them to read them out.

In addition to the work on rhymes we will also be developing the children’s letter recognition and ability to hear the sounds at the beginning of words. Here are some great websites that are well worth a visit. You will also receive a list of letters we will be concentrating on this week as a whole class via a sticker in your child’s diary. REMEMBER!!! We teach the letter names as well as the sounds they make.
http://www.saintambrosebarlow.wigan.sch.uk/activities.htm - The children are to try to hear the initial sounds in words.
http://www.ictgames.com/phonic_fighter4.html - Look at the letter shown and then select the picture that begins with that letter.
http://www.channel4.com/learning/microsites/H/hoobs/activities/interactiveActivities.jsp?id=letters - This is an amazing website focusing on the initial sounds. Hours of fun why you do your ironing I think!
www.starfall.com - The children love this. I had it on in class last week and they are so good at using it.
http://www.little-g.com/shockwave/beginning.html - the children are to focus on the initial sounds of the picture shown and then identify a picture with the same initial sound.
http://www.ictgames.com/phonemeFlop_v4.html - a good website for getting the children to identify the letters of the alphabet.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
The children have been fully assessed as to their starting point in counting skills and we are ready to move them forwards in their learning. Therefore, by the end of the week, the children:
COULD be able to count up to 20 objects reliably;
SHOULD be able to count 10 objects reliably;
MUST be able to count 6 objects reliably.

Counting reliably is vital to all mathematical activities in the Foundation Stage. We teach the children a little phrase to help them remember the rules for counting.
This means that the children LINE the objects up and TOUCH each one as they COUNT them. The children must remember to give each object a number. Here are some good websites to support counting and also help number recognition.
http://www.rainforestmaths.com/ - select the more counting picture with the jar of frogs.
http://www.wmnet.org.uk/custom/files_uploaded/uploaded_resources/846/Teddynumbersv2.swf - This is such a cute website. The children can select the numbers they wish to work with and then select the number of sweets to feed the teddy as identified by the number given.
http://www.priorywoods.middlesbrough.sch.uk/kidsonly/findout/counting/bugz.htm - This is one of my personal favourites! I remember the first time I ever saw it and couldn’t stop laughing.
http://www.crickweb.co.uk/assets/resources/flash.php?&file=ftank2 - I really like this one as it helps to develop mouse skills as well as counting skills.
http://www.learningplanet.com/sam/cyc/index.asp - A simple but effective website.
http://www.little-g.com/shockwave/colorcount.html - Click on the pictures to make them colour.
http://www.wmnet.org.uk/wmnet/custom/files_uploaded/uploaded_resources/850/Count&Order.swf - On this website the children must identify the numbers on the leaves and then drag the ladybirds with matching number of spots. They can count the number of leaves on a stem and match the number to it or, order numbered snails and ladybirds.
http://www.ictgames.com/caterpillar_slider.html - this game works on ordering the numbers.
http://www.ictgames.com/nutty_v3.html - collect the acorns in number order.
http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/english/fruits/level2/l2/activity2.html - The children must count the number of pieces of fruit and then click on the matching number.
http://www.e-gfl.org/e-gfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/teacher/other/spark/downonfarm/downonfarm.html# - Click on the link Down on the Farm and follow the instructions.
http://www.abc.net.au/countusin/games/game5.htm - This one is good. Count the items on the peacocks feathers and drag them to the number.
http://www.ictgames.com/duckshoot.html - All the fun of the fair with this one!
http://www.learningplanet.com/act/rats/rats1.htm?rats_numbers - This websites needs the children to use the arrow keys on the keyboard. You can select the numbers the children are unsure of and work on them.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/numbertime/games/find_the.shtml - another great game for developing the children’s number recognition.
http://www.ictgames.com/piratenumbers2.html - For those children with number recognition beyond 10. This is a great game for them! Count the barrels in the water and then type in the number. Let’s see if you can sink the ship.

Pizza Parlour
In order to develop the children’s application of number in their play and everyday life, they have decided to change the flower shop in the classroom into a pizza parlour. They have been busy designing t-shirts for the ‘workers’ and this week, they will be designing menus, creating pizzas and setting up the parlour with the staff. If you have any old pizza menus or you fancy getting a takeaway at the weekend and could save the box for us that would be fab!

Physical Development
We will now teach the children handwriting. Children enter school at varying stages in their development but handwriting is a vital skill required to enable fluency of communication in writing. Things you can do at home to support your child’s fine motor skills and therefore aid handwriting are:

Fastening buttons
Playing with play dough
Colouring is fantastic!

In PE the children will be developing their spatial awareness and learning to stop and start on command. Getting changed for PE is increasingly difficult now that all the children are in school full time. I can’t emphasise how important it is that your child learns how to dress themselves. Please, and I know it is sometimes tempting to do it for them, allow your child to dress themselves all the time. It will be surprising how quickly they learn.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
This week the children will continue to develop their clicking and dragging skills as well as learning how to program a robot called a beebot.

And finally, a HUGE thanks to you all for supporting our aim of a hectic free morning. The children have been amazing and have really learned about the routine of the morning. We have been in time for assembly (except for the Harvest Mass!!) but it’s absolutely fantastic. Many, many thanks.

That’s all for this week.

Have a good week.

Best wishes
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx