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Willow Class Blog 2017

Term 5 week 4

 This week we have been investigating capacity. We began by recapping the vocabulary we previously learnt, full, empty, over flowing etc and then began to look at using standard units, millilitres and litres. We measured water using a range of measuring beakers, cylinders and jugs to perfect our skills. Then we had great fun creating magic potions. 

We wrote the ingredients, instructions and details of what magic was created!

The we had great fun in The Glade making our magic potions.






Our cress seeds were finally ready to eat so we made cheese and cress wraps, discussing the nutritional benefits of vegetables and trying to convince many that it didn't taste like grass!




In PE this week we worked as teams on an orienteering challenge. The children had photographs of different areas outside and they had to work together to identify the area, go there and find a picture. They then had to use all their phonic skills to write the word. It got very competitive and the winning team enjoyed their ice lollies! The children are really working well in teams and understanding the importance and advantages of it.


Term 5- week 2 & 3


We have been enjoying a range of activities centred around plants and trees to start our topic this term.

We had great fun reading many different versions of Jack and The beanstalk and comparing it with the original traditional version.






We continued to develop our writing skills by writing letters from The Giant and writing our own speech bubbles for characters in the stories. We pretended we has magic beans, discussed what they would look like and what they would grow into. We made seed packets for our  magic beans and wrote planting instructions for the seeds.


In The Glade we made our own beanstalks from sticks and tried to make them longer than a metre, practising our measuring skills with metre sticks.


We planted our own bean seeds and discussed all the requirements for the seeds to grow.

We had great fun tasting sunflower and pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and so many of the children after initially being reluctant to try them asked for seconds! We made seeded flapjacks which were very popular! 


We found out that cress seeds grow much quicker than normal seeds and don't need soil to grow. In groups we planted cress seeds and discussed the optimum position for growing. Of course the favourite part was eating them! Again many of them initially weren't keen to try but most ate all of their cheese spread and cress wrap. We have been discussing why eating vegetables is so important, their vitamin content and why fibre is important- lots of discussion about poo!


In Phonics we are coming to the end of Phase 3  with a few more sounds left to learn. Then we will be begin Phase 4 which centres on words with adjacent consonants, e.g frog, pond, milk. 




Term 5- week 1


This term the children have chosen the topic " Up in the trees and under the trees".

So this week we began by looking at the trees. We learnt about the names and functions of the parts of the tree, drawing and labelling pictures and painting pictures with watercolours. Our painting is becoming quite impressive!






We have found out about the life cycle of an Oak and apple tree. We drew life cycle diagrams and made spinning life cycle wheels.


In maths we have been learning to count in 10's. In The Glade we formed bunches of 10 sticks to refill the mini beast hotel. We made an estimate it would take 300 and were very close with 270!




We made the most of the good weather by taking a lot of our learning outside.






In phonics we have been recapping all the sounds and tricky words covered so far before beginning work on new ones next week.


On Friday the whole school celebrated Commonwealth day. We looked at facts about the Commonwealth games and designed our own medals. Our class looked at the country of Tonga. We all made flags and learnt to sing the Alphabet song in Tongan which we performed at a school assembly Friday. Hopefully a recording will follow soon...


Term 4- week 1


This week we have started work on our new topic of electricity. We went on an electrical hunt around the school and had a great discussion about where the children believed electricity comes from and how it works.

In the computer suite we used an on-line activity to sort objects into electrical and non-electrical items. The children's confidence using the computers has really grown together with their mouse control- something they don't get the opportunity to practise often at home.

In PE we will be working on early gym skills this term. We began by looking at rolling, pencil rolls, teddy bear rolls and egg rolls.




In maths we spent the week on number skills, recognising and ordering numbers to 20 and beyond. The 'teen' numbers prove tricky for many children. We used Numicon to represent the numbers and the children found this representation a good way of remembering the '1' ten comes first when writing the teen numbers.



This then lead on to making larger numbers for some children.




In Phonics we have been working on the digraphs, ch, sh, th and ng.





Week 4 & 5

We had great fun with the story " The Naughty Bus"



The children had great ideas where they wanted the naughty bus to go in school and took photographs of the adventures. We then worked on writing sentences to describe our photos and make simple stories.

We found out all about the history of buses, drawing early buses and painting new London buses.


We have been having great fun learning about a range of 3D shapes. We went on shape hunts around school and outside to find cylinders, cubes and cuboids. We have been learning to use mathematical language to talk about the faces and properties of the shapes.


 In The Glade we became musicians and formed our all bands. We used a variety of objects to make our own instruments.





In Phonics we have now covered all the single letter sounds and have begun to work on new digraphs, beginning with sh.







Week 3

This week we have been finding out about traffic and how we can stay safe on the roads.


We conducted a traffic survey outside school and found out that about 25 cars passed by in ten minutes. Everybody took the job very seriously and enjoyed learning how to use tally marks.



We also used a survey to find out the most popular colour for staff cars in the staff park- it is red.


We all had great fun making our own road safety films. Some children chose to act out crossing the road, one group used a jingle and another based it around minions. The class always enjoy watching their performances on the class interactive whiteboards. It is also a great opportunity for peer reviews of their performances.


We talked about the role of traffic lights in controlling the traffic and making the different types of crossing safer for us. Everybody made their own traffic lights. When we work on design projects like this the children are given the choice of materials and ways of combining them and then asked to explain their choices.




This week we have also been learning how to tell the time using o'clock.

 In The Glade we worked in small groups to make a clock using natural resources.





In phonics we have been working on the sounds v, w and x. We always learn the cursive formation of the letter and practise reading and writing words using the sounds. We work daily on reading and writing simple sentences including the tricky words.




Week 2


This week we have been looking at trains. We enjoyed the story " The Train Ride" and talked about train journeys we have been on.

We have compared old and new trains, looking at how they are powered and decorated.

The class had great fun working together to make a train track that covered the whole classroom, using all the plastic and wooden track in school.

As we were writing and reading about trains we covered the 'ai' digraph in phonics.



 We have also learnt the phonemes 'v ' and 'j'.  We have started to learn the tricky words of Phase 3, beginning with me and my ( me with the e and my with the y). Tricky word book marks will come home next week for you to practise when listening to your child read.


In PE we have begun a new unit on agility and started off with balancing. The class had great fun working with a partner.




The children have enjoyed sharing their "Shape of the week" from home, this week it was spheres.



We have also begun to look at money, recognising the different coins and notes and beginning to find totals of small amounts. We have transformed the role play area into a toy shop and discussed the different roles in shops and the different ways of paying for things. Our discussion on where money comes from and why we need it was very interesting! We explained that the money you tale from the bank has to be earned and all the things that cost money they were unaware of. The children chose the costumes for the shop and we have a lot of police officers and builders shopping.




We finished off the week with our " Thomas the Tank Engine Day", the children were very insistent on a day of Thomas and as always their ideas included some cooking!

Thomas cakes were made and decorated with much enthusiasm. We investigated our 3D shape of the week, cylinders, by making 3D Thomas trains. Everybody made train puppets that they used for group puppet shows in The Glade. We worked hard on our sentence writing in Thomas speech bubbles after watching an episode of Thomas.






Term 3

Week 1

Firstly I apologise for falling behind with the class blog last term. Things got very hectic preparing for Christmas and the Nativity. It was great to see you all at the Nativity and I am sure you will agree all the children did an amazing job. It's no easy task to practise and perform to such a big audience when you are only 4 and 5! Thank you for all generous donations after the performances, we will be spending money on playground equipment and a new project- details to follow shortly. I was also very busy completing coursework for my Forest School qualification- its not just all playing with sticks you know!

So this term the children have decided on the topic of "Vroooom Vrooom".Please see the newsletter for an outline of what we may cover this term. Of course this is always subject to change as we always try to go with the children's ideas and interests.

This term we will be learning about 3D shapes and have a "Shape of the Week". We have a "Shape of the Week" table in class and all the children are encouraged to bring in items the correct shape from home- please nothing precious of breakable! This week we are learning about spheres. The children have enjoyed a sphere hunt around the school. We have also been looking at estimation and have an estimation jar in the class. each day it is filled with different items and the children have to complete an estimation slip sometime during the day. We are working on improving their independent learning.

In Phonics we completed Phase 2 Letters and Sounds and will begin Phase 3 next week. New tricky word bookmarks will follow shortly.


Week 3

This week we have been preparing for and enjoying Nanny's 80th birthday. ( Nanny is one of our class puppets)

We used Purple Mash, an online educational website, to make birthday cards for Nanny. The children's computer skills are showing great improvement.

We thought about the sort of birthday cake Nanny would like and all worked on our own designs. We then combined many of the ideas to make a spectacular four tier pink and purple show stopping cake!



In groups the children worked together to make presents for Nanny; a repeating pattern necklace, a stunning bracelet, a floral hat and a super handbag. These were all presented to Nanny on her birthday party.






Friday was also 'Children In Need' and a music day in school, so much excitement in one day!

Each class learnt a song and performed to the school. There will hopefully be a clip of us singing our song to follow shortly.

We also spent time investigating a range of instruments and listened to a wide range of music.

We are working very hard on learning new sounds in Phonics and are beginning to read and write simple sentences- details to follow next week!



Week 2

 It's been another busy week filled with special events! This week we have been finding out about Guy Fawkes Day. We learnt all about Guy Fawkes and why we have bonfires and fireworks today.

We had great fun with our bonfire and burning the guy we made. We were all very sensible with our sparklers and talked about keeping safe with fireworks and around the fire.








Wednesday was community day in school. We were all finding out about different jobs and careers. We had many visitors in school to talk to us about their jobs. We all really enjoyed our visit from a fire fighter at Gatwick Airport. The children had some great questions for him to find out all about his training and job.






Each class also decided to investigate a different profession. The vote came down to train driver or astronaut and astronaut was the winner.

We had great fun finding out about life on the space station and how the astronauts do everyday things like wash their hair and sleep. We tried out some astronaut training activities to improve our hand/eye co-ordination.


On Friday we walked to St Helen's church for the year 6 Remembrance day service. We had learnt all about the significance of the poppy in class. It was a an informative and entertaining assembly and we had many comments on how well everybody behaved, well done again Willow Class!


Next week we are looking at birthdays. Nanny, one of our class puppets is going to be 80 next week! Of course we will be having a party for her.



Term 2

This term the children have chosen their topic to be " Celebrations"- they are very excited about all the parties and food that will be involved!


This week we began by looking at Diwali. We learnt about how and why it is celebrated.

We had great fun with the Diwali dancing, hope you enjoyed the videos!

We made our own diva lamps using the hot glue gun which the children are getting very confident using safely.



We looked at Mendhi patterns and worked on our own patterns.


In maths this week we have been investigating weight and looking at heavy and light. We have been using balances to order two items by weight and using the vocabulary of heavy and light.

In The Glade we worked in teams to make our own balances and used them to compare natural objects we found. In the class we made our own balances using a range of equipment.




This week we learn how to use the Beebot's- programmable robots. We learnt how to send them the desired distance forwards and backwards.




In Phonics the children have been working hard on blending and segmenting the sounds we have learnt so far. This week we have learnt about tricky words- words that can not be sounded out easily, eg no, go, to, the, into, I. Each child will have a tricky word bookmark sent home in their reading books next week. It would be great if you could practise reading these each time they read their reading books.


In The Glade this week we have been learning how to use palm drills safely. The children have been making their own necklaces.






Term 1

Welcome to Willow Class!

We have spent the week letting the children getting familiar with the classroom and school and getting to know them. We work hard on independence and they are all beginning to remember where their trays and pegs are and look after their own belongings.

The children are all placed in a colour group. These groups are used for organising activities, sitting at home time and most importantly to them at the moment into which colour box their very popular water bottles are kept!


Our timetable is on the class page and we follow it roughly but as you can imagine with a class of 4 year olds nothing is set in stone!  We join Year 1 and 2 on the playground for morning play and lunch time playtime. We do not have an afternoon play time as we are either in our outside classroom or our wildlife area The Glade. We do not attend collective worship yet but will attend suitable assemblies throughout the year. We will join the school in St Helen's church was special events throughout the year.


This week we have been talking about we are all different and special in our own ways. We have been talking about feelings and what makes us happy and sad.

We all made our own collage faces for a class display, looking carefully at the position , size and colour of our facial features.


We looked at pictures of Willow trees and talked about the different parts of the tree. The children enjoyed painting pictures of Willow trees and many adults passing through our class commented on the care they were taking and the impressive results.

Three children that worked extremely hard on their paintings were Lily, Jack and Amelia and they all went to show Mrs Jarvis. Mrs Jarvis loves to hear about hard work and anybody sent to share their work is rewarded with a highly prized sticker and get to write their name in the special book. At the end of each term one of the names is drawn out of a hat for a prize.



We have explored the field, enjoying  some catching and throwing practise, a go on the trim trail and a welly walk! Next week we will explore more of the school with first visits to the ICT suite, The Glade, and using the hall for PE and Drama. It seems a very big and confusing building when you are 4.

The empty classroom next to ours, is used for group work, meetings and clubs. It is called The Pond and we use the toilets in here at playtime and when getting ready for lunch so please don't be concerned when your child insists they go to toilet in the pond!


I have been asked about the baseline assessments as there has been stories about it in the news. Please be assured we do not use any formal testing on your child this term. Our assessments are all based on play based observations, discussions and activities. This ensures we have a good understanding of your child's abilities, strengths and areas for development to base our planning on. You will be invited in towards the end of the term to share your child's Learning Journey with them, this contains a record of such observations.


Next week we will be talking about our houses and looking at houses in stories.


Week 2

This week we have been thinking about houses. We talked about our own houses and the colour of the doors and roof etc. We made our first visit to the ICT suite to use Purple Mash, a website we subscribe to. We used a colouring program to draw our own houses. The computers in school are controlled by mice which was a real challenge for the children!


We made houses with different shapes. This helped me judge the children's awareness and knowledge of shape to aid initial assessments and future planning.






We have been looking at different houses in stories this week. We shared the story of "The Three Little Pigs" and in The Glade on Friday we made our own pig stick houses.





We also shared the story of " Hansel and Gretel" and designed our own candy houses using Purple Mash and drawing.


This week in Phonics we have been working on hearing the differences between environmental, instrumental and animal sounds in preparation for learning letter sounds which will start next week.


We have great fun in PE this week. Everybody had a good try at changing into their PE kits and we didn't lose too many clothes! We looked at the effect of exercise on our bodies and the importance of warming up before exercising. We worked on our throwing and catching skills with beanbags. The children really enjoyed the visit from the 100 metre runner Reuben Arthur on Monday. They completed their exercises and listened really well to how Reuben stays fit and healthy. Please return your sponsor forms and money as soon as possible. The money is shared between ourselves and British athletics, both very good causes!



On the weekly timetable you may have noticed on a Thursday afternoon it has PPA. This is my allocated non-contact time for preparation, planning and assessment. I am out of the class and Mrs Fitzpatrick and Mrs Luscombe lead the learning.


We have had a very busy, fun filled week and the children have settled amazingly!

We do spend part of everyday in our outside learning areas including our fenced area, the field and The Glade. The weather never stops us and itself provides so many starting points for discussion and learning. Some of the time is planned learning activities and some will be the children's own choice of learning. We have waterproof clothing for all the children and umbrella's just for fun!


Week 4.

Another busy week!

The children were very excited to begin learning sounds in Phonics sessions this week. We have learnt the name, sound and Jolly Phonics action for the letters t and I. We have practised saying and recognising them through a range of games, songs, interactive resources and video clips. We have practised the cursive formation in a range of ways including in the sand, shaving foam. tracing, large scale chalks and on rolls of paper outside.






We practised the correct size and positioning on the line using individual dry wipe boards.


In maths we have been ordering objects by size and using the vocabulary tall, tallest, long, longest, short and shortest.

In The Glade we ordered sticks and described their size using this vocabulary.



In the class we made towers of brick using unifix bricks and had great fun making playdough worms that were longer and shorter.




This week we have been talking about our families and the children made a collage member of their family.



We were also busy in The Glade renewing our Reflective area- a quiet area where the children can just enjoy the peace or say a little prayer. We had decorated CDs to hang in the trees and painted stones to define the boundary. They were very pleased with the results.



We also worked on the mini-beast hotel. Counting bundles of 10 sticks and tying them with string together with pine cones we collected from the field.


Next week we will be working on our Fairy Garden, which took quite a battering last year! Any garden ornaments suitable would be greatly appreciated. Bring them along to the Fairy Tea Party next Friday and help your child decide the best spot for them. Many Thanks!


This was just some of our week! I hope its clearer that your children aren't playing with Lego and dressing up all day, even though there is always time for that! Play is a vital element of their early learning and something we will continue throughout the whole year.


Week 4

We have spent the week preparing for our fairy tea party. The children have had great fun making fairy puppets, fairy peg dolls and magic wands. These craft activities give opportunities to teach and practise a wide range of skills including combining and joining materials, explaining their reasons for material choices and fine motor skills. As the children work on their projects we discuss these with the children, developing their understanding and questioning skills, we also make observations which help inform our future planning and assess the children's abilities. These observations are recorded in their learning journeys which you will be invited into share at the end of term.


Concentration winding wool for magic wands




Casting spells in The Glade




Fairy peg dolls




Of course the food was the most popular part of the week. We discussed what the fairies would like to eat and of course it must be fairy sized.


We counted fairy biscuits.



We made fairy fruit jelly.




We used the microwave to make popcorn



And of course we made fairy cakes.




All these food activities gave us the opportunity to discuss food hygiene, healthy eating and keeping safe using electricity and hot cooking equipment.


In phonics this week we have been practising recognising and writing the sounds we have learnt and a few new ones. We have been working on blending the sounds together to make small words using a range of practical equipment.







Letter formation in fairy dust was a bit hit!




Next week we will be learning about Harvest and celebrating at the church where Year 3 will be performing a Harvest assembly.


Week 5                                                                        
This week we have been finding out about Harvest in our own country and countries around the world. We explored a wide range of vegetables and made some delicious Harvest soup.
We made two batches, one using an electric soup maker and one in a pan on the hob. This provided lots of opportunities for discussion about healthy eating, food hygiene and keeping safe around electricity and hot cooking areas. The children were taught how to use knives safely to chop all the vegetables.


We had great fun printing with all the different vegetables.


We shared the story of 'The Enormous Turnip' and acted out the story. We then worked together to make our own paper maiche turnips.

 We also looked closely at real turnips and produced some really great drawings of them.


In Phonics we have learnt the sounds and names of the letters, a, t, p

,i and n. We have been playing games and working hard on activities practising blending and segmenting these sounds to read and write small words.

This week we used the listening pegs. The children listen to the recorded words and match them to the correct card. When they have finished they take a photo of the activity to go in their learning journey. This is something they will very soon be doing independently for activities they complete during their own learning time.



The class enjoyed joining the rest of the school for the Harvest celebrations at the church and everybody commented on their great behaviour, well done Willow Class.

We also worked hard on a Harvest display for the church which some of you may have seen.


In The Glade this week we were thinking about the importance of looking after our environment and the hazards of litter to the wildlife.

We used the litter pickers to clear away any dangerous plastic.