Welcome to Year 1

Hello and welcome to our Year 1 blog, it has been a pleasure to get to know the children over the past few weeks and we have had great fun getting our learning under way.

This term’s topic is ‘Nature Explorer’. This term we will be looking at how the seasons change during the year and the weather that each season brings (our learning about the seasons will be a recurring theme throughout the year). We will be learning about trees, looking carefully at their different parts, and drawing them as part of art. We will be finding out about the history of Sevenoaks’ seven oaks trees. In RE, we will be focusing on the big question: What do Christians believe that God is like? We have daily teaching of maths and English, with dedicated phonics sessions.

 PE Full PE kits should be brought to school at the start of the week and will be send home Thursday ready to wear to school on Friday.

After October half term full PE kits should be brought to school at the start of the term and stay in school until we send them home for a wash, usually at the end of each term. Every child needs to have: trainers, shorts/skort, royal blue T shirt, tracksuit trousers and jumper. Girls should also have socks if they are wearing tights with their uniform. All uniform and kit must be clearly labelled so that your child can identify their clothes. It is also really useful if PE bags are labelled clearly on the outside, preferably with a sharpie pen in the bottom right hand corner – we spend hours looking for names on bags!

We have two timetabled PE sessions each week, Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon.

Children’s Belongings PE bag are stored in the plastic boxes outside our classroom door. Children’s coats and bags are hung on pegs in the year 1 conservatory area. Lunch boxes are stored on the shelves outside our room. As always, please ensure all items belonging to your child are named clearly and your child knows where to find their name label, this includes shoes!  Now that your child is in Year 1 please discourage them from bringing toys to school. They are welcome to bring books or items related to our learning and topic. Details of our learning each week will be in the Home Learning Book.

Phonics and Reading: Children are taught and practise phonics three times a week, in small groups that focus on the specific stage that they are working at. They also reinforce their reading and phonics skills during class literacy sessions, individually with an adult and in reading groups. Your child will have opportunities to read with a number of adults in school but these will not always be recorded in their reading contact book.  However, we do ask that you make a comment when your child has read their reading book at home, and whether they would benefit from re-reading it, maybe focusing the second time on vocabulary, phonics or punctuation rather than just decoding to read the text. Reading Diaries will be checked by staff daily and changed as appropriate for your child, usually three times a week.  Please ensure that we have reading folders in school every day.

Handwriting: Please continue to encourage your child to use the correct letter formation that they learned in Reception. Please ask a member of staff for a reminder sheet if you are unsure of any of the phrases that support your child’s handwriting.
Home Learning: It is expected that all children complete homework activities. The activities provide opportunity for your child to have one-to-one adult attention, to consolidate understanding and to further their classroom learning.  If you are unsure how to support your child then please come along to the Thursday Homework Club with your child where a member of staff will be able to help you both. Activities will be sent home towards the end of each week. Please support your child with their learning but allow them to do it themselves, especially with writing tasks. Please return their book to school at the beginning of the following week – on Monday or Tuesday. Work should be done in pencil.

Other Matters:

  • A bottle of fresh, plain tap water should be brought in daily, no other drinks please.
  • Children may bring in a small amount of money to keep in their tray for the break-time tuck shop if they wish. Please put money in a small, named purse – it is advisable to provide 5p, 10p and 20p coins as snacks cost between 20p and 30p.
  • Fruit is provided every day in class which all children are encouraged to eat.
  • Please let me know if you have paid for your child to receive milk.
  • As the majority of the class now have a school meal, please allow your child to use a knife and fork to cut up their own food at home. Resist the urge to cut it for them, however frustrating it is to watch them.

If your child occasionally has ‘little accidents’ you may like to put clean underwear and a small plastic bag into their PE bag for such times.

With the colder weather approaching please encourage your child to be able to put on and zip up their own coat, as well as find the hanging loop with which to hang it up – they are on the outside of the school coats. Also, they should be able to do up their own shirt buttons and put on their tie, as well as pull their clothes the right way out in order to put them on. These simple skills save so much time during the school day!

The teaching assistants in our class are: Mrs Ottway, Mrs Thompson and Mrs Pinder.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that your child has a happy, busy and successful year. Please feel that you can share any concerns or raise any queries as they arise. You can catch me in the playground at the end of the school day, or write a note in your child’s reading diary. For confidential matters please place a note in an envelope or make an appointment to see me in the classroom.

Kind regards

Miss Giles (Year 1 Class Teacher)

Forest School

I went yesterday with Class 1 to their first day of Forest School at Sevenoaks Prep. The Prep are kindly giving us one of their trained Forest School teachers, Lucy McGilchrist, every Monday afternoon to give all of Classes 1,2 and 3 a really meaningful Forest School experience in rotation by the end of the academic year. If the first lesson is anything to go by then it will be a year to remember. A cross section of Class 1 arrive by school bus, get out and are met by Lucy, someone they have never seen before. She introduces herself, gives them a game to play immediately and then takes them over to the Forest School. From the moment they got out of the bus they were concentrating the entire time, asking interesting questions and taking on all the tasks with real energy and thought.  It was just all so impressive, and to think they are only 5 and yet to get that behaviour at that age just again proves the great teaching strength that St. John’s has, to make sure the children know how to get the best out of themselves and all around them.

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!