Sunflowers and Strawberries

I cannot believe we are now in our final term in Year1! The children have come so far and are such a lovely class to teach. This term our topic is simply named ‘Summer-time’ in the hope that we will have some beautiful weather and be able to enjoy lots of fun in the sun.

Much of our work will be focussed around the weather and plants that grow at this time of the year, in particular sunflowers and strawberries. This week we have been sharing a book called ‘Camille and the Sunflowers’ about Vincent Van Gogh. It has stimulated lots of vocabulary and chat about what they look like and how they grow. We have also planted a sunflower seed each and have made predictions about how long we think it will be before we see the first tiny shoot. Our damp pots of soil are being avidly scrutinised each morning, let’s hope we do not have to wait too long!

We have our Strawberry Day planned for a few weeks time when we are lucky enough to be going to Stonepitts Farm to pick strawberries. This is such a fabulous learning experience and, unsurprisingly, many parents have volunteered to help! Thank you and sorry that I cannot accommodate more of you.

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, Year1 will be completing their Statutory Phonics Screening. Although it is a low-key affair, please help your child by making sure that they have slept well and eaten a good breakfast – every little helps!

Sky-high learning

This term Year 1 have been taking their learning outside and making the most of the lovely weather. Last week saw our maths learning about arrays, rows, columns and grouping being investigated using the sand tray, cars and trying to work out exactly how many chocolates the teachers had eaten at playtime!


It was great to see the children developing their learning using our outdoor classroom and linking their classwork with their play. Fresh air obviously stimulates creativity, with reading and story writing being the choice of a growing number of children when taking a turn outside.

The Blue Balloon by Mick Inkpen has been the stimulus for much of our learning about flying this term.

Our topic has stimulated lots of exciting investigations. Making parachutes and testing them for homework created lots of excitement and it was great to read about, see photographs and even watch videos of the children’s discoveries. In class we have been trying out different materials and considering which are most suitable for making flying machines. Our ‘helicopters’, based on sycamore seeds, showed us that surprising materials flew well. On a windy afternoon the children tested helicopters made from tin foil, plastic bag (these flew away!) tissue, cardboard, paper, fabric and foam. We discovered that paper and foam were good materials due to being light, fairly stiff and foldable. This led us into choosing paper to make our kites with this week. We cannot wait to test them and then potentially adapt and improve them.

There was lots of excitement this morning when I introduced some new beebots to our class. We will be learning to create a series of instructions and to program them. Even Year 6 came in for a sneaky turn at lunchtime!



A busy week back in Year 1!

Welcome back to term 5, this year seems to be just flying by! With such wonderful weather all week we have begun to make full use of our new decked ‘Outdoor Classroom’ just outside our new backdoor. The children focus so much better on their teacher-led learning when they have opportunity to pursue their own interests at other times. Having their own self-initiated learning time also develops  their independence and skills of investigation, as well as cooperation, problem-solving and resilience. Time well spent I believe!

This term we are honing our phonic skills, ensuring that we know all our sounds quickly and can sound out and blend words that contain them. We have been busy creating our own nonsense alien words, challenging each other to work them out. Please continue to check for new words added to the yellow phonic wallets each week.


On Tuesday we had a brisk walk up to The Vine to wave our hands and flags for Lizzy Yarnold as she whizzed by on her open-top bus. This was our first of two bus-related excitements this week….

Friday saw us board our very own red, double decker bus to spend the day at Ladyland farm. We had a truly fabulous day. The sun shone, the animals were friendly and the children were brilliant. Our Farmer, Jackie, commented how well the children participated, listened and shared their knowledge, they made me feel exceptionally proud.

Finally, our two, birthday boys (one celebrating yesterday and the other tomorrow) were lucky enough to hold a newly hatched chick, still damp and only an hour or so old. Farmer Jackie then decided that it should be named after them … so, welcome to the world baby ‘Harley-James’!

Animals all around

Year 1 have been fascinated by the book we have been sharing this term called ‘One Night Far from Here’. It is a beautiful and unusual book with transparent pages and real animals that we have never heard of. You would think the tricky, new animal names would put the children off, however the opposite has been true. For example, they were keen to look up ‘golden orb weavers’ and ‘goliath birdeaters’ using the Ipads and discovered that they are in fact spiders. The children have asked daily whether we were having a new page or not, such is their enthusiasm. They have also been bringing in animal facts to share, well done Year 1.

In DT we have been exploring how to make moving pictures using flaps, split pins, sliders and springs. These clever pictures all have a secret part hidden by a flap!

I hope that all the Year 1 mums enjoyed their springy, spring flower cards on Mothering Sunday. I was exceptionally proud of my class when they sensibly and ably opened the Mothers’ Day church service. Despite our rehearsal time being very limited because of the  four, fabulous snow days, the children remained professional, even when using the microphone for the first time!

This term we have been thinking about Springtime and the signs and varied weather that it brings.

It has certainly been true recently with snow one day and sunshine the next! Our walk for Sport Relief was luckily dry, cold but incredibly muddy… almost up to our armpits as one child told me when they slipped over! The children walked an amazing distance with good humour and energy, maybe it’s just my legs that ached the next day as they all bounced into school as normal. Well done to all, old and young legs alike.

It was great to have the opportunity to talk with you about your child’s progress last week at our Parent Consultations. Many people asked about the list of exception words which Year 1 are expected to know how to spell by the end of the year, so here they are:



There’s s-no-w reason to stop us learning!

Who would have imagined that we would be enjoying such arctic weather this week? On Monday in Year 1 we were learning about the African savannah, hot and dry for most of the year and they never have snow!

In light of our extreme weather, homework this week needs to be appropriate I think, and  here are some activities to keep your child busy:

So I would like your child to:

  • Make a snowman picture using cotton wool, in fact that is what I have been doing this morning with my young neighbour to keep him busy!
  • Give the snowman a name and write an imaginary fact file for him.
  • Ours is called Kevin, he supports Spurs, his favourite food is crunchy carrots and green grapes and he likes to sledge through tall trees and prickly bushes. He does not like dogs who sniff and wishes he could have a birthday cake with striped candles and sticky strawberry jam.


  • Practise your handwriting in the snow using a stick or other tool, or sprinkle some flour on the table and write in it with your finger.
  • We have been learning to join some digraphs, using diagonal and horizontal joins. We use the same handwriting phrases as learned in Reception with the addition of the word ‘and’ to represent the join. Please see the photograph for more information.


  • Please make sure that your child has read their reading book and identified all the exception words and digraphs that they can find.


  • Use their number line to 50 that they brought home last week, or make a new one if necessary. Select numbers and write out how many tens and ones they need to make them. In class we used drinking straws, grouping them into tens and the extra ones. Your child could do this using strips of paper or pens and pencils.
  • Practise counting in tens, maybe while walking in the snow, each step adds ten more toes!
  • Explore adding fives by jumping along their number line, how does it link with counting in tens?


Stay warm, have fun, drink lots of hot chocolate, bake cakes, play a board game, watch a film… that’s how I will be entertaining my family and young neighbour today! If in need of any more ways to keep your children busy, then take a sneaky peak at Miss Allen’s blog for lots of snowy fun ideas, there are some lovely activities to try. Thank you Miss Allen!


Feathers, Fur, skin and scales

Bird Week at the end of last term was fantastically, feathery fun in Year 1. We made Cheerio bird feeder in maths, created our own bird fact books, built lego bird homes and painted pointillism birds using cotton buds.

We read a brilliant book called Some Birds by Matt Spinks which gave us great ideas for adjectives and verbs that we could use to write our own bird poems.

We also measured birds’ legs using cubes and found their numerical difference by comparing and subtracting. We also measured the length of feathers using a variety of measuring equipment.


We ended our week by visiting Year 4 to try out our ‘tickle sticks’ as part of our learning about senses. We discovered that their most ticklish body part was their hands and face! It was great to hear all the squeals and giggles from our very patient guinea-pigs, thank you Year 4.


Our next topic follows on very neatly this term as it is called ‘Animals Around the World’.

Nurses and nibbles!

As part of our topic called Amazing Me we have been thinking about hospitals in the past and hospitals now. We have found out about Florence Nightingale and discovered that she really was a ‘Hospital Hero’. We did not fancy being a patient in the past and laying on the floor with rats crawling around, or drinking unclean water. We decided to have our own nurses’ station and had lots of fun helping our patients. We had patients with broken ankles, bruised ears and poorly tummies! We have some budding doctors and nurses in Year 1 I think!

Continuing with our learning about senses and how they keep us safe and healthy, we firstly played games where our sense of hearing was most important. We had lots of giggles when we played ‘Squeak, Piggy, Squeak’, Chinese Whispers and The Keeper of the Keys. I think this was the quietest I have ever heard our class.

During another afternoon we explored our sense of sight. We were amazed by the optical illusions, loved the kaleidoscopes, and were increasingly frustrated by searching for Wally using magnifying glasses in our Where’s Wally? books. We even made our own fashionable glasses to wear while we worked.


Our most recent science lesson was the children’s favourite by far… using our sense of taste to identify crisp flavours. The children were very restrained as they investigated each crisp by looking, feeling, smelling and listening before finally tasting. Salt and vinegar flavour proved to be the firm favourite with 21 children voting for it.


We still have our perfume laboratory and feely bags to look forward to, this really is one of my favourite topics to teach!

Term 3 off to an amazing start!

Before we move swiftly into a new term, may I first thank all the volunteers who accompanied us to the pantomime on the last day of last term. It was a wonderful treat for everyone and a fabulous way to finish for Christmas. Another big thank you from all the year 1 staff for our cards and gifts, we really appreciate your kindness.

The children worked very hard in the last few week of term despite busily rehearsing and then giving outstanding performances as dancing stars in the nativity. Below are some pictures of the work we did about the story of Jesus’ birth.


After a lovely Christmas break, Year 1 are now raring to go with our new topic called ‘Amazing Me!’.We introduced the topic by thinking about what kind of superhero we would be and the super-talents we may have. Many children thought it would be useful to be super-stretchy, while others thought being super-brave would enable them to help lots of people. We designed our superhero costumes and chose our favourite one to be made into super-sized superhero picture for our display.  Our wonderful new superhero – real name Grayson, is now waiting for his body parts to be labelled during our next science lesson.

This term we will be learning about real-life heroes such as Florence Nightingale and Louis Braille, linked with learning about our senses and how they keep us safe and healthy. We are also exploring  books written and illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Please encourage your child to have a look through their books at home to see if they can spot any. HIs books are hugely entertaining and we have already had fun sharing a few of his books, I have never seen the reading corner so busy! In art we will be learning about portraiture and creating our own art gallery, as well as finding ways to create pictures without pencils or paintbrushes. A busy term as ever and off to a flying start!


aliens, babies and a special treat!

With Christmas fast approaching, Year 1 are busy learning about how we prepare for the celebration and about the first ever Christmas. We have talked about how all babies are special and that the birth of baby Jesus was extra special too.

We have been having so much fun discussing who we think each baby is – some of the pictures are very deceiving! There is much debate about the little one with the mass of dark hair, top left corner of the display,  the children cannot wait for me to reveal the identity!

The focus for our learning in English is to use adjectives. We enjoyed describing the old toys kindly lent to us for our toy museum, using words such as: old, scratchy, rusty and  broken. We are now using our imaginations to create a planet for our book character, Beegu. He has some weird and wonderful things on his planet according to the children, such as green pizza and lollipop trees. 


In Year 1 we work together as a team to fill our class marble jar. So far our treats have been to have shortbread (linked with our learning about Scotland), strawberry donuts, spotty balloons, and a classroom disco. The next treat we are collecting for  is to watch a film together. However, our treat came early yesterday! We were lucky enough to have free tickets for this year’s Into Film Festival at The Stag Cinema. We took our packed lunches, wrapped up warm, and set off to walk there. We thoroughly enjoyed the showing of Despicable Me3, and I can say that the children’s behaviour and attitude was exemplary.

You always make me proud Year 1!   


Toys old and new

With Christmas now on the horizon, the exciting new topic in Year 1 is all about toys.  We have our Toy Museum set up ready in the classroom and are eagerly awaiting old toys to be lent by parents and grandparents. I wonder what we will get?

Our focus in English this term is to understand how to use capital letters. We have already been using capitals to make words LOUD in our writing. We have watched fireworks on screen in preparation for this weekend’s firework displays and thought about the type of noises we may hear. POP, BANG, WHEE, WHIZZ were among our favourites.

We are becoming experts now at adding and subtracting and are more than half-way through our current Maths Learning Journey. Our challenge this term is to know all the pairs of numbers that make 5 and 10. When we know these by heart we will work out all the number bonds for all the other numbers. Year 1 are always busy!