The great fire and bird-week!

Last term ended with a BANG! After working on creating our model buildings to re-create the houses of Pudding Lane, we finally burnt them down in a one-off spectacular! Fortunately, we had ex-fire-fighter, Dave, on hand to help contain the fire. This was especially important as our re-enactment of the fire reflected the windy conditions of 2nd September 1666, helping the fire to spread more quickly!

After burning down the houses of Pudding Lane, we enjoyed an interactive history workshop where we dressed up in the different roles of key figures of the time. We enjoyed Arthur playing the role of Samuel Pepys and Rafan playing the part of King Charles II. Every child in the class had some part to play in our engaging workshop. We thoroughly enjoyed finishing off our history topic in this way!

The final week before half-term saw us enjoy bird-week, where we took part in lots of different bird-related activities across the whole school. We kept tallies of birds we had seen when bird-watching outside, and transferred this data onto our own bar charts. We also drew around our hands to create colourful parrots, where we practised counting in fives as we added longer and longer tails to our stunning creations!

Putting the cherry on the cake, we were lucky enough to enjoy a visitor from Eagle Heights share his knowledge of birds with us. We even saw these glorious birds fly and swoop across our school hall!

Next week will be my last week and I would just like to say a huge thank you to all of the children and parents in Year 2 for being so fantastic to work with. I will be sad to leave such a lovely team and class, but I know that the children will thrive under the care of Mrs Woodhouse and Mrs Quirk.

Wishing all of you the very, very best and much love!

Miss Prendergast.

Fires and Fractions!

Busy bees that we are, we have been linking DT, art, history and english in learning about our topic of the term- ‘The Great Fire of London’.  Now that we have finished making our houses on Pudding Lane, we are ready and excited to burn them (safely!) next week on the school  playground. We are also looking forward to an outside company visiting us to lead an interactive workshop for Class 2, (again next week), to round-off our learning on this topic.

 

We tried to imagine what it might have been like to witness the fire firsthand, writing our own eye-witness accounts.

In maths, the start of the term saw us explore symmetry and shape. We enjoyed playing games such a shape bingo and creating our own symmetrical patterns using the peg boards.

 

We have now moved onto understanding fractions. Combining fractions with our love of food has certainly helped us to be even more passionate mathematicians!

Our maths learning journey so far has begin with what a ‘fraction’ means, through to finding fractions of different 2D shapes and fractions of a set of objects.

 

All of our practical work will help us to better understand how to find a fraction of a number next week.

 

 

Happy new year and thank you!

Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you for all of your lovely Christmas gifts. I have been well and truly spoilt rotten, with lots of goodies to keep me calm and relaxed in the last trimester! As a few of you know, my partner and I were finding out the gender of our baby on Christmas day and I’m pleased to reveal that the prediction from the scan is that it will be a baby girl. Very exciting! This term Class Two will have the luxury of two teachers, as I will be working alongside Mrs Woodhouse for part of the week. I know that she is looking forward to meeting the children and getting to know them a little better for when she takes over from me in March.

In english, we will be sharing a new text this term called, ‘The Princess and the White Bear King’. Please try to avoid reading this text at home if you can, as it is always lovely to discover the text with a fresh pair of eyes together in class.

In maths, we will be consolidating our understanding of number from previous terms, but also moving on to learning about symmetry, shapes and fractions. We hope to make this as engaging as possible, with the use of chocolate bars and pizza boxes to aid us in our investigating and reasoning!

In history we have introduced our new topic of ‘The Great Fire of London’. We shall be combining this with art and design technology, by creating our own houses, recreating Pudding Lane with its wooden houses. Once we have admired our model houses, we intend to set them alight and watch as they catch fire, making the connection with the fire of 1666 that spread so quickly through London. Obviously, we would do this under the watchful supervision of Dave (our caretaker and on-site ex-firefighter). His skills certainly come in handy for such projects as this! In an effort to make this plan a reality, could children please bring in any cardboard boxes that might be left over from Christmas, of similar size to a shoe or cereal box. Thank you.

As a friendly reminder, spelling tests will commence as normal, starting on Monday 8th January. The first set to be tested on will be Set One of the new spelling booklet for Term 2; beginning ‘spied’, ‘spying’, ‘copied’ and so on…

Thank you again for your on-going support and cooperation.

Happy new year to you all!

Scooters, arrays and apostrophes!

So far this term, we have been lucky enough to enjoy a scooter workshop where we learnt about the importance of wearing the right safety gear, and also had the opportunity to watch the professional perform stunts and tricks on his own scooter. We were left feeling inspired! Of course, we were excited to join in the fun by playing team games on our scooters as well.

In maths, we have been learning about the relationship between repeated addition and multiplication. Lots of practical activities with real life objects, cubes and counters have helped us to see and truly understand what multiplication means.

In class, we learn multiplication in this way:

The arrangement of cubes below shows 2 made 5 times, represented in a number sentence as 2 x 5 = 10.

Using the same 10 cubes, we were able to rearrange them to create a new number sentence, 5 made 2 times, represented in a number sentence as 5 x 2 = 10.

We have slowly but surely taken away the cubes to represent this pictorially, drawing arrays.

The children have discovered through their own investigations that we can swap the numbers around when multiplying, learning that we can multiply in any order to get the same total. Understanding that multiplication is commutative is an important aspect which we are trying to embed with the children in as many different ways as possible, using all sorts of objects and pictures.

Next week, we will be further exploring the relationship between multiplication and division.

  

In grammar, we have been thinking about apostrophes. In particular omissive apostrophes, where we use an apostrophe to show that a letter or letters are missing. We have a simple step-by-step strategy for turning two words into one using an apostrophe, which we call a contraction.

Step 1:

Write the two words. Below, Florence played the part of our ‘finger space’ perfectly.

Step 2:

Remove the fingers space and push the two words together.

Step 3: 

Scrunch up your missing letter (or sometimes missing letters) into an apostrophe.

‘do not = don’t’, as wonderfully demonstrated by the children themselves!

Lots of learning and lots more excitement to come with the Nativity just around the corner. Please can children try their best to learn their line(s) over the weekend, and please remember to bring your script to school everyday so that we can use them for rehearsals. Thank you!

Last, but certainly not least, we have a wonderful new addition to Class 2 in the form of Mrs Simpson who will be working alongside Mrs Truman as an additional teaching assistant. What a treat to have an extra pair of hands to help! She’s excited to get to know the children a little better and has enjoyed her first week at St. John’s.

 

 

 

A royal response

At the end of last term, we wrote letters containing lots of questions we wanted to ask the Queen, hoping that she might reply. We were overjoyed to discover royal post waiting for us in our classroom in the first week back at school! After sharing the letter written by her Lady-in-Waiting and after discussing the fact-sheets inside, we decided to proudly compile a display in readiness for our new history topic this term where we shall be looking more closely at the Queen.

Of course, we couldn’t have such a display without a life-size image of the icon herself.

 

In our writing across the curriculum, the children have dazzled me with their use of exciting vocabulary and super spelling!

It has been pleasing to see an increasing number of children winning stickers for improvement and even full marks in their weekly spelling tests. Very well done Class Two!

 

In maths we have been building on our understanding of number bonds to 10, to see how this can help us derive our number bonds to 20 and 100.

If we know that 6 + 4 = 10, then we know that 16 + 4 = 20 and we know that 60 + 40 = 100. We call this MAGIC MATHS in class, and we can spot number patterns more and more easily now. We are moving onto addition and subtraction, including considering their inverse relationship, but we are keen to further embed our ability to recall our number bonds facts, so please feel free to practise the pairs of numbers which add up to 10, 20 and 100 at home.

 

 

 

A warm welcome to Year 2

Welcome to Year 2! We have been busy bees already this term and I am so pleased with the children for taking on board our new class routines so readily and for making such a positive start to the year.

In maths we have been embedding our understanding of number. We have been comparing and partitioning different amounts to ensure that we know how many tens and ones there are in different 2 digit numbers and using this to reason why one number is bigger than another.

 

We have been using cubes, diennes, even crabs and snails on paper plates to explore how 2 digit numbers are made and what these amounts look like.

In English, we have been keen spellers and I can’t wait to award more spelling stickers soon to an ever-increasing number of children improving upon last week’s score or even gaining full marks in our weekly tests.

Identifying nouns and adjectives in texts, we are quickly becoming grammar detectives. I wonder if you can look out for these types of words in your reading at home as well?

In Science we have been exploring different materials, including a rather tasty lesson where we investigated whether a metal, plastic or wooden spoon would be best for eating ice-cream. Mmm… it took a few tastes for us to ultimately decide…

In Geography and Art we have been visiting different continents around the world. We have enjoyed a range of treats from playing African drums and forming a Chinese dragon, through to creating our own panda-masks.

What a busy term so far!

 

Happy half-term to all!

First and foremost, I’d like to say a huge well done to all of Class Two. They have worked particularly hard on their SATS this term and all of the children have performed well and  should be incredibly proud of themselves!

I’d also like to thank you, the parents and carers, for helping with homework and for your on-going support and cooperation as always. A further thank you to all of those who were able to attend the Year 2 Reading meeting today. Please do not worry if you were unable to make it. All leaflets and hand-outs will be sent home with homework tomorrow.

Please watch the video link below to get a feel for the pace at which children will hopefully be reading at in a month’s time to reach the ‘expected’ level.

Thankfully, as well as SATS, we have enjoyed some exciting learning opportunities this term. As well as a visiting science workshop ‘ZooLab’ and swimming at Walthamstow Hall, Year 2 visited a ‘mandir’ in Crawley to embed our understanding of our on-going topic- Hinduism.

 

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We enjoyed yoga, saris, dancing and ringing bells. We thoroughly enjoyed this different type of worship and marvelled at the detailed shrines.

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…