Welcome back

Welcome back to a new term at St. John’s. We are excited to begin new topics, including Hinduism in RE and a new Geography topic – ‘Our local area’.

Eager to discover more about Hinduism, Andrew and Torben have shared items from home with the rest of the class which have been related to our learning. Torben was excited to show his artefacts which his dad had brought back from a trip to India, and Andrew was keen to find out more from his books at home. Learning about a new and very different religion has sparked a great deal of interest in the children, and our RE corner is now happily overflowing with children’s Indian objects, drawings, shrines to different deities, a puja tray and a selection of information books for the children to explore more about Hinduism in their free time. This term our RE has been linked to our learning in Design and Technology, so the children have planned their Ganesh elephant masks, including which materials they wish to use (paper plates, paint and split pins proving a popular choice) and everyone is looking forward to start creating their well-thought through designs next week.

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In science we are continuing with our topic on plants. Planting cress seeds into petri dishes and placing them in our classroom under different conditions, we are observing closely as the days go by, so that by Friday we can analyse our findings and discuss what we have found out.

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We have been particularly fortunate this week; for a special treat Mrs Casewell kindly organised a ‘ZooLab’ workshop for us where we had the opportunity to hold and stroke some wriggly friends.

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Well done to all of the children for taking no notice of silly Miss Prendergast who was sadly not brave enough this time to be in the room when the workshop-leader revealed a corn-snake!

Clock-bingo, shaving foam and foot-rubs

We have jumped straight into our learning this term. In maths, we have been learning about time and we have been making the connection between the 5 times table and counting how many minutes have past the hour. As well, as this we have come up with our own song in class (with actions of course) to remember where the long minute hand points when the time is o’clock, quarter past, half past and quarter to.

A range of activities have helped to embed our understanding, but as time can be a tricky concept to understand, it would be particularly helpful if you could continue to practise reading the time at 5 minute intervals at home as well.

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In literacy we are about to start a new text, ‘The Magic Finger’. Very gradually, we shall be discovering more of the text as we share it together in class. Please try to avoid reading this story at home, at least for a few weeks, so that we can maintain the element of surprise. As well as enjoying the text for what it is – A Roald Dahl delight, we shall be using the text to inspire some persuasive writing.

Finally, a quick mention of our other subjects, we have introduced Grace Darling with a storm of our own – a shaving foam and blue food-colouring spectacle! In RE, we are working our way through the Easter Story this term. A highlight so far has to be when we opened our own foot-pampering spa area in our RE corner. The children have also shown, humility in washing their friends’ feet too.

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Books, books, books!

Lots to report from just this week alone! What an amazing ‘Book Week’ at St John’s!

We have enjoyed treasure hunts, a cartoon-workshop (with children’s writer and illustrator- Knife and Packer), a class trip to Sevenoaks Bookshop and the grand unveiling of our newly organised classroom Book Corner!

 

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Class 2 now have a borrowing service setup, so that they can choose to borrow a text from our book corner to read alongside their normal reading book. The children have come up with the rules for this book-borrowing service themselves. The book corner has never been so popular with the children! Year 2 have also embraced the new addition of our writing corner, where they can now review books they have read to recommend to other children, take part in dictionary and thesaurus challenges, send their own letters using St John’s letter-headed paper and selecting from a range of envelopes, as well as re-telling stories with finger puppets, wooden spoon props and even a talking tiger mask!

I’d also like to thank Mrs Loftin for her donation of books to help towards this rejuvenation!

The History ‘Great Fire of London’ workshop was a resounding success, with every child having the opportunity to take part in re-telling the events of 1665-1666 – living the life of Samuel Pepys through the dark times of the plague and the fire.

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Next term we shall move onto learning about ‘Grace Darling’ in our topic-work, and ‘Health and Growth in Plants’ in science. Hopefully we will have more success in growing plants this year than hatching chicks…

 

 

 

Fingers crossed!

This coming Wednesday is a long-awaited day for Class 2, as we are keeping our fingers tightly crossed that our class chicks will hatch. All of the children have been eggstremely patient and responsible, ensuring that our classroom door is shut to keep the warmth in and being particularly careful around the incubator. I am sure that if any chicks do emerge from these eggs, you will be eagerly informed by your children on Wednesday night!

In our literacy, we have been sharing the text, ‘The Princess and the White Bear King’. The language and imagery in this story has truly inspired the children to write with rich vocabulary, phrasing and similes in their own writing. We have taken this text apart, page by page. From acting, role-play, interviewing key characters from the story and story-mapping, we have accumulated stock phrases, as well as looked in depth at the different stages of this text. This has helped us to re-write the story in our own words as a piece of extended writing which is our task for this week.

Delving into the past, we are excited to take part in a History Workshop this week, bringing the events of the Great Fire of London to life! Please note that children of class 2 are not to dress up for this occasion – this was a mis-print in the Newsletter. Normal school uniform please… until Friday of next week of course! I can’t wait to see what book characters all of the children will choose to dress up as!

 

 

 

‘Born in a Barn’ Bonanza!

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What a wonderful finale to a busy Christmas term! The children have all worked exceptionally hard; learning lines, songs and dances. They have impressed us all with their performance and star quality! Our show certainly dazzled and shone with plenty of gold medallions and neon glowing halos. We could have given every child a halo for their outstanding efforts individually. We are sure that you enjoyed it as much as we did too!

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Reception have completed our Space topic and I wonder how many of the children are now aspiring astronauts?

In Year 1 we are now expert puppet-makers, having completed finger, hand and sock puppets. We have had great fun writing scripts for our puppet shows and performing them to be recorded on iPads.

In Year 2 we finished learning how to write a set of instructions effectively. The highlight of our learning was writing instructions for how to make jelly, making it and then finally eating it! Wobble wobble!

We wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Miss A, Mrs T and Miss P.

 

 

 

 

Mia the monarch

In maths we have introduced multiplication. We have been learning:

2 x 3     as    2 made 3 times.

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Please take note of the way in which we teach multiplication at school so that if you wish to supplement this learning at home, you can do so by following the same method. We don’t want to confuse any of the children and they all seem to have picked up the concept of multiplication well.

Our new topic for History this term focuses on comparing Queen Elizabeth II with Queen Victoria. We opened this topic by slowly revealing items from a bag, and discussing how these items might be linked to the role of a monarch.

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In RE we are deconstructing the Lord’s prayer, by learning about a couple of its lines every week. This week we reflected on things we might need and things we might want, after looking at the line, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’

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Some of the items proved a little tricky to categorise as a need or a want; particularly love. We finally agreed that we all need love to live happy and healthy lives.

Here are some forest school pictures from this week. We practised making knots to create our own Christmas trees to hang in class!

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Fantastic, fizzing fun with fireworks!

With many of the children happy to eager to share their recounts of watching fireworks in various different places, we have all been excited to create our own firework poems in class in this week’s literacy.

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We have been learning about different forms of poetry. Sometimes the structure has verses of a similar size, but other poems break all the rules! Shape poems were very popular with the class. The children enjoyed using brightly coloured chalk and pastels to write verbs in different directions onto black paper, resembling the fizzing, banging and unpredictable course the rockets take as they shoot off into oblivion!

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In maths we have been measuring in different ways, but we learnt that whether we are measuring the mass of an object or the length/height of an object, it is always best to start measuring from 0!

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We also reminded ourselves of the meaning of < , > and = to compare the weight and lengths of different objects found in our classroom.

Once again, Forest School for Group Two has been thoroughly enjoyed by all.

We ended the week today with an exciting workshop, delving into the history of pantomime, in readiness for our much anticipated trip to the Stag Theatre at the end of this term to see ‘Sleeping Beauty’!

We can’t wait!

Forest School

In maths we have been learning how to bridge/cross over ten.

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The children have worked well this week to understand that swapping ten ones for a group of ten doesn’t make the total any bigger or smaller. They worked in pairs to answer these additions using the diennes.

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We have also seen how we can use a ruler as a number line and how bridging/crossing over ten appears if using a hundred square.

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Today, we looked at ways of answering addition number sentences without the diennes – using strategies such as adding the tens and ones digits, and adding by using number bugs. Please see below for our quick guide on how to do this.

number bug demo

Some excellent adding in different ways this week Year 2, well done!

In literacy, we have started looking at poetry as our next genre of writing. We have focused our learning on prepositions this week, with scary poems such as ‘Spooky Castle’. Next week, we will be exploring the many different types of poem that exist; from shape poems, to acrostic poems! Please can I send out a quick plea for any toilet roll tubes, as we also hope to make our own 3D firework-rocket poems. Thank you.

In Computing this week, the children learnt more about how to use the programme ‘Paint’. Last week we explored the different brushes you could select and this week we concentrated on writing our name in different fonts and learning how to create a capital letter using the Shift key, rather than the Caps lock.

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Finally, I have to mention Forest School! Mrs Truman was really pleased with the children’s behaviour and below is a little snapshot into some of the activities they got up to!

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Please see below for a reminder of the children who will be going to Forest school next week.

forest school Group B

 

 

 

We have been all over the world!

This week we completed our whistle-stop tour of the WORLD and its 7 amazing continents. It was a cold finish to the term, thinking about what we might pack in Buddy the bee’s suitcase on his trip to Antarctica.

 

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We have also investigated what changes happen to bread when it is heated. As scientists, we have learnt to observe more closely than to simply answer that it turns into toast! We used all of our senses to carefully consider any slight change that occurred once the bread had been heated in the toaster.

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Andrew made a particularly thoughtful prediction, saying that,

“The edges of the toast might go hard and the middle part might turn a darker colour and feel more bouncy.”

Thank you to all of you for what has been an exciting start to the year this term. Well done everyone!

Please note that we have Forest School next term. Please can permission slips be handed straight to the office. Thank you.

Camel facts!

This week we shared the story, ‘Katie in London’. We decided to put different characters into the ‘hot-seat’ to ask them questions about events in the story from their perspective. Natasha played the role of the queen, whilst Harry played the role of one of the lions at Nelson’s column.

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In maths, we have been adding ten and multiples of ten to 2 digit numbers.

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We have also been practising counting back ten and taking away multiples of 10. We have discussed the patterns we have noticed and seen for ourselves, through using the diennes, that the ones digit stays the same every single time!

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Learning about the 7 different continents, we have learnt lots about the different currencies, climates and languages across the world. A big thank you to Caitlin’s dad who came into class on Tuesday to share with us stories and information about Saudi Arabia, having lived out there for a year. We were all amused to learn that camels will drink ANYTHING, even Coca-Cola! We were similarly entertained with pictures of camel-racing and camels sitting in the back of people’s cars!