Learning to play, Playing to learn!
Class teacher- Miss N Zahran & Mr Coates
Miss Harrison, Mrs Barnes, Mrs Lingard and Mr Ahmad also help us with our learning
This term we started school in our lovely new classroom.
We met our new teachers and our new friends.
We started the new school year talking about ourselves and what we liked, telling our new friends about our homes and things we like to do.
The first story that we looked at was ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson. This is book that our class is named after. We liked going on hunts for the characters, talking about the woods and even drawing pictures of the Gruffalo. Our second story of the half term was ‘Handa’s Surprise’, this story helped us learn about another part of the world (Africa) and how people from different parts of the world live.
In Maths, we were looking at various numbers, counting to 10, investigating the numbers 1 to 5 and all the different ways we can make it, draw it and write it. We also use Number blocks to help us whilst we are having our snack.
In phonics, we started to learn the first sounds we need to know ‘ S, A, P, T, I N, D, M, O’. We also practiced and recognizing our names, which we are getting really good at and how to properly use a pencil and scissors.
Fundamentals with Mr Coates, is really fun. We have been practicing our running, jumping, throwing (overarm), hopping and kicking. We have been using the hall and our EYFS yard to do our Fundamental Movement Skills. We will keep practicing every day.
In Jigsaw, we have been learning about ourselves, friendships and how to be a good friend. We like to use kind hands here at Springfield and kind words as well. The Gruffalos like to encourage our friends, share and make them happy if they are sad. It is an important skill to have in life and we are practicing all the time.
In Religious Education, we have been learning about various cultures and religions. How people are different and how some people belief and celebrate different times of the year.
Music is taught by Mrs Lingard in Gruffalos. The children have learnt about Pitch – high and low sounds. Mrs Lingard brought her musical note scarf and rainbow ribbon into school. The children watched as the scarf or ribbon was moved high above or low around them. They also listened to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Seans and the children moved to the music. They used low voices to roar like lions, then high voices to tweet like a bird. Following on from this they listened to the piano and wiggled their fingers low to the ground as low notes were played then lifted their arms high to wriggle their fingers as high notes were played. Lastly they tried to find low and high notes on a glockenspiel.
Provision is a big part of Early Years and it is where can in investigate all the different areas of learning. We have three learning rooms, filled with unique opportunities for learning, from Role-play to Block-play, Writing areas to Maths areas and Construction to Malleable. These different learning areas help us progress in all 17 areas of the Early Years Curriculum.
Just before the first half term holiday, we decided to challenge ourselves to put on and zipping up our own coats. Some Gruffalos found this very tricky so if adults at home could help us, it would be even better. Pictures of our learning go up on our school Twitter every day, so please take a look.
In Autumn Two, we had a new face in the class, Miss Zahran. Miss Zahran, who was the Year 1 class teacher, moved into the EYFS team and is now the full-time class teacher, however the rest of the team is still the same.
In Literacy this half term, we looked at a number of books including Dear Zoo, Dear Santa and Goldilocks and Three Bears. We started to introduce Talk4Writing to the children, this is to help the children learn the story through actions. Talk4Writing has really helped the children understand the story without always depending on the words to aid our story-telling.
In Maths, we have continued with consolidating our understanding of numbers up to10 and started to find out about shapes. Shapes is a big part of the EYFS curriculum and being able to identify shapes in our environment. Some children are now spotting circles in clock faces, rectangles on doors and so on. This is key to the development of their Mathematical brains. In PE, the children have continued with their Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) with Mr Coates and will continue to do so for the rest of the school year. Towards the end of the year in Summer Two, the children will be putting these FMS into actions through games getting them ready for the Year One curriculum.
In JIGSAW, the children have been looking at the theme of ‘Celebrating Differences’ from people to houses, backgrounds to beliefs which links also to our Religious Education unit of Special Times. The RE and JIGSAW lessons have been used in a way that link Literacy (Christmas Stories), Music (Nativity), RE (Special Celebrations) and JIGSAW (Celebrating Differences) all together in a cross-curricular approach.
In Music, the children have been practicing their Nativity songs which will be sung in a Christmas concert style nativity. More information is to follow. Sadly we can’t have you in school at the moment to watch the Nativity so for this reason the performance will be recorded and send out in DVD packs towards the end of the year.
In Computing, the children have started to look at programming through BeeBots. This is the entry level of programming where the children are able to view a BeeBot, enter digital instructions for the floor robot to move. These will also then be placed within our provision areas for the children to investigate independently.
The provision within the classroom is changed on a regular basis to link to learning within Literacy, Maths and all other subjects to promote independent learning.
Pictures of our learning go up on our school Twitter everyday.
First of all, we would like to wish all our Gruffalo class and their parents and carers a Happy New Year. Hopefully this year will be slightly easier than the last. During the Spring Term we are planning on looking at a number of different stories in our English and Talk 4 Writing sessions. The stories we’ll be using in class are: The Gruffalo’s Child & Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, The Big Pancake, The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and many more. We will be looking at these books in depth and creating actions to help our story telling and also to broaden our vocabulary. The themes of the books will also then be introduced into our continuous provision and themed rooms.
In Maths, we have completed our learning of the numbers to 10. We will be consolidating these numbers through Maths warm-ups and provision. We will be learning more about shape, positional language, sharing out (division), patterns and sequencing along with time.
It is at this point, we would like to encourage that you talk to your children about time using clocks and watches at home. The more that is done, the more the children become familiar with them and the quicker they will pick up this important life skill.
In phonics, we will be consolidating our learning of the first sounds that we need to know ‘ S, A, P, T, I N, D, M, O’ and then moving onto tricky words. The children have already learnt ‘to, into, the, go, no and I’ and are applying this to their writing. We will continue with recognizing and practicing our names, something that we are getting really good at along with how to use our pencils and scissors properly.
Fundamentals with Mr Coates is lots of fun! We have been practicing our running, jumping, throwing, hopping and kicking. We have been using the hall to do our Fundamental Movement Skills. This is really helping us with our gross motor and fine motor skills.
In terms of outdoor provision, through Forest School we will be encouraging our children to explore the great outdoors, observe seasonal changes and really investigate the different challenges that only the outdoors can offer.
In Jigsaw as part of our PSHCE and HRE curriculum we will be learning about goals and dreams and how we can achieve them up until the February half term. After that we’ll be looking at healthy eating and what we can do to live a healthy life. We will be trying lots of different fruit and vegetables to promote healthy foods, which is always fun!
In Religious Education, we have been learning about various cultures and religions. How people differ. We will continue to learn more about religions and cultures using stories to promote the children’s understanding of the World.
As part of Music, EYFS will be investigating through musical games, the musical elements dynamics and timbre. The children have learnt the names of several percussion instruments and how to play these with respect so will be able to apply these.
Provision is a big part of Early Years and it is where can investigate all the different areas of learning. We have three learning rooms, filled with unique opportunities for learning. These different learning areas help us progress in all 17 areas of the Early Years Curriculum.
Here are some helpful websites that you can use at home as well.
https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/ – EYFS children are mainly on Phase 2 in the first term and
then Phase 3 after Christmas.
https://www.learningblocks.tv/numberblocks/activities – EYFS children have learnt up to
number 10 so far, however these activities will be good for consolidating learning.
https://www.learningblocks.tv/alphablocks/activities – Most EYFS children have and or are
well on their way to learning the Level 1 first phonic sounds. However, Level 1 & 2 activities
would be good for the children to complete.
Expressive art and design
The Gruffalos have been using paint this half term. We have created colourful butterflies and hungry caterpillars. We painted lots of different colours on one side of our paper, folded it over to create a symmetrical butterfly. We had to make our own shades of green for our caterpillars by mixing blue and green paint. We added details with felt tip pen once our caterpillar artwork was dry. We also made 3d caterpillars using playdough and colourful butterflies using transient art resources in our independent learning in continuous provision.
Our plants in our garden had not been cared for so we decided to plant new ones and take good care of them. We planted sunflower seeds that have now got shoots and pansy and marigold plants in pots outside. We have learnt lots about plants. We explored how what would happen if we put flowers in coloured water we made predictions as to what we thought might happen. We have also looked at the life cycle of a caterpillar.
Shape, Space and Measure
In this area of learning, we have looked at different money, language used to describe (over, under, next to etc.), we measured the capacity and understand the different between full and empty and much more.
Miss Harrison’s phonics groups have been working on single letter sounds. We have been doing lots of robot talk to orally bled and segment sounds. We are gaining confidence to read simple words by identifying the letters and their sounds and blending them. We are beginning to build words using magnetic letters and writing.
As a class, we have been at different stages of our learning journey. Some children have been consolidating their understanding of number to 10 with Miss Harrison. Another group has been working to number 20 with Mr Coates and Mrs Barnes, finding different ways to make these numbers, ordering them and also using this knowledge to solve problems in a real-life context.
Our books this half-term have been the very hungry caterpillar, we’re going on a bear hunt, The three littles pigs and enjoyed many, many more. These books were the stimulus of our continuous provision and we based many writing, phonics and other tasks around these books.
The children were introduced to the Computing Room and started to look at the technology available, ready for their transition to Year One. Mr Coates explained the main parts of a computer and we had time to investigate each part and how it worked using the computer program ‘Mini Mash’.
Our topic this half term was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The music focus: dynamics, loud and quiet with the area of learning: physical development. Linking with their Talk for Talking the children were encouraged to join with hand actions and whispered words.
We sang to the tune: She’ll be coming round the mountain.
- Verse 1 – There’s a tiny caterpillar on a leaf – wiggle, wiggle
- Verse 2 – He will eat the leaves around him ‘til he’s full – munch, munch
- Verse 3 – A cocoon is what he’s spinning for his home – spin, spin
- Verse 4 – Then he’ll be a butterfly and fly away – flap, flap
Then moved on to listening to the song There’s a tiny caterpillar on a leaf on YouTube joining in with the lyrics and hand actions. https://youtu.be/JOlbSE0CmNM
The children chose percussion instruments to match the action words – wiggle, munch, spin and flap
Finally, we chanted the rhyme getting louder with each line and matching our voice, whilst tapping our knees.
Literacy and Expressive Arts
In this area of learning, the children started develop writing more independently through the use of keyword sheets and writing aids. This is part of our steady transition to Year One. We were learning and writing about The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Three Little Pigs. We were able to use our expressions to ready and act out parts of the story. We have quite a few little actors in our Gruffalo class!
In Phonics, the Gruffalo class were learning about different diagraphs including ch, sh and th. The children would then be able to use this phonics knowledge in their active reading and literacy learning. They would be writing sentences which include these phonics.
In Jigsaw this half-term, it was mainly based on our jump to Year One and getting us ready. We started using behaviour management strategies used in Year One and started to have a look around so we were ready for this new challenge. This also gave us an opportunity to look through our journey of our first year at school and WOW! What a year it had been!
We were concentrating in making sure our knowledge of number was ready for our Year One learning. We continued to learn about numbers up to 20, making them, pulling them apart in different ways and then finally, we looked at shapes and the different shapes in the world around us. There are more than you think!
Our religion of study this half-term is Islam and we learnt about all of the different stories that Muslims listen to, to give them guidance like Christians do with the bible and we spoke about how they treat their special book (The Qur’an) and their beliefs and customs.
In this area of learning, we learnt about our English monarchy. Our visitor came in to teach us about the Queen and some of the other members of the royal family. In other activities, we discussed our technology had changed over time (buses, cars and phones) in a link to our Technology learning. We have looked at historical artefacts and how we can use them to give us clues about where they are from? When they were made or formed? And what their purpose is.
One of our books, as I mentioned, was the 3 little pigs so we built different houses out of different materials to see which would be the best. Straw, sticks, bricks and paper – we tried them all to see why the wolf couldn’t blow down the brick house. We also revisited melting, freezing and other changes that happen in the wonderful world of Science.
Final Word of the Year
Finally, just before we started our two-week transition to Year One. We had a celebration our achievements in a very hard year. Even though this was our first year of school, it was unforgettable. We made new friends, we faced new challenges and different ways of learning in school and out of it. We, the EYFS team, know you are ready for the challenge of Year One now and it has been a pleasure to have you as the Gruffalo class of 2020/2021. Good luck!
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