Sumdog competition – Get playing!

Welcome Maths Enthusiasts. I have entered the whole school into a Sumdog competition against other schools.

All you need to do is log onto Sumdog with your usual username and password then enter the school code sjs3 to help us gain as many points as possible. The competition started today and ends next Friday 14th February at 8am.

How do you earn St John’s some points? Simply play! The more you play the more we earn.


Good Luck children!


Mrs Gillhouley

Fairy Tale mystery!

We have had all sorts of drama and excitement in our fairy tale cottage this term! Anyone that thought that fairy tale’s might be dull or boring have been proved wrong! It all began one chilly Monday morning when the children came in to find our role play cottage had been ransacked!! There were broken chairs and tea cups and porridge all over the floor! Thank goodness some keen eyed Reception children spotted the footprints in the porridge which was a vital clue.


We had lots of wonderful discussions about who might have done it and why, before writing lists of what things we needed to help our investigation. I particularly liked the idea of getting police sniffer dogs in to explore the crime scene! After a few days a very apologetic letter arrived in class from Goldilocks, and order was restored. In traditional style, the bears went back to sipping cups of tea from their china cups and all was forgiven!


In other news we designed and made new chairs and beds for the bears to replace what Goldilocks had broken, using a range of resources from Lego to recycling materials. The comfort of the bears has really been thought about here with this bed even having arm rests!


This term we have already covered a number of fairy tales from ‘The three little pigs’ to ‘Rapunzel’ and it has been wonderful to see how many of the children have been able to use and retell these stories in their play. These traditional tales will hopefully now be securely cemented in their bank of stories so they can draw on the language and ideas as they become imaginative writers.


5,4,3,2,1,Blast Off!

We have hit the ground running this term with our topic, ‘Space and Light’ inspired by the fabulous book Whatever Next by Jill Murphy. In class we have loved retelling the story, and then began thinking about what other adventures baby bear might go on. It was great to hear all the children’s imaginative ideas and now that their writing is improving so much many children were able to write about their adventure ideas as well.

The weather this term has brought with it some wonderful learning opportunities. I have always loved the colours of Autumn and in Reception we are lucky enough to have our outside area, with a range of trees nearby giving us an endless supply of beautiful autumn leaves! We have explored every possibility, counting and sorting leaves, creating autumnal art using leaves we have collected, using charts to categorize leaves and reading autumn poems. Children never cease to amaze me with their creativity!

I hope everyone is looking forward to our Reception bedtime story evening on Wednesday 21st November. I hope it will be a lovely evening for your children as well as a good opportunity for parents and carers to find out a little more about phonics and reading at St.John’s. I look forward to seeing you then.

A warm welcome!

A very warm welcome to all the Reception class and your families, particularly if you are new to St. John’s. We have had a busy start to the academic year with my new class getting used to their classroom, friends, staff and of course buddies!

This term, as our topic is: ‘People who help us’ our role play area in the classroom is a veterinary surgery. The children have instantly been demonstrating¬†their caring nature, bandaging many a poorly rabbit, cat or dog. In fact as an adult in the classroom I have had to be careful not to stand still for too long as I would have ended up with a bandage too!

The children have quickly been getting used to our routine in class and exploring the range of resources and activities. It has been lovely seeing¬†them getting to know one another and even beginning to gain the confidence to chat a little and ask new friend’s what their name is!

It has been great to get to know you and your children better during my afternoons home visiting. As of next week Reception are staying all day so just to let you know you will be collecting your children from the main playground (where you drop them in the morning) at 3:15 rather than the side gate.

One scoop or two?!

We have begun our final term in Reception this week and I honestly cannot believe how quickly the time has flown this year! This term our learning will be linked with ‘The Sea’ including everything, from¬†things we¬†might find at the seaside, to the creatures that live in rock pools and in the depths of the ocean. Our role play area is now Reception’s very own ‘Ice Cream Parlour’ and the children didn’t take long to jump straight in to the roles of shop keeper serving a long line of hungry customers!


We have had great fun using our creativity and imaginations, inventing our own ‘nice and nasty’ ice cream flavours, some of which I would definitely not like to try! It was very funny to see how animated the children¬† were when describing their nasty flavours. In Reception we are now increasingly writing words and sentences independently and their progress is absolutely fantastic, with some children even beginning to use capital letters and full stops!

In Maths this week everything had a hint of the seaside also, as we were counting, sorting and adding shells and ice creams. We even did a big class survey to find out which flavour of ice cream was everyone’s favourite. The children were able to gather the information and use a tally chart to count their results before making a bar chart to show the winning flavour!



Insect Detectives


Well it really has felt like summer has arrived early this term!! In reception this has meant we have all been spending even more time outside in our wonderful outdoor learning area. This has been such a blessing with our current topic¬†‘minibeasts’ as the children have been able to spend time outside hunting for bugs and exploring the places they like to hide! So far we have covered a real range of creepy crawlies from ladybirds to bees and of course caterpillars and butterflies. In class we have been closely watching the development of our very own caterpillars. In fact just today we were thrilled to see three of our butterflies emerge from their chrysalises’!!¬†It has been a fantastic experience to observe the class keeping check on every little change as the caterpillars have grown and transformed over time.


I have been thrilled with how quickly the children have picked up on our new maths focus: being able to double a number. We have been practising with stones, counters, numicon and of course anything relating to minibeasts! Maybe you could have a go at doubling some numbers at home?

In phonics we have all been incredibly excited to learn our first trigraph! The children have been practising using their phonic knowledge and tricky words to write a ‘super sentence’ each morning. Here are just a couple of examples of the brilliant writing Reception have been producing. As the year goes on it is such a joy to see children becoming more independent and confident to write fabulous sentences.


Minibeast Madness!

What a gorgeous week of sunshine we have had to welcome everyone back after the Easter holidays! I hope you all had a lovely time off. The children were certainly bursting with stories of their adventures over the holidays which was lovely to see!

This term our topic is minibeasts, and the role play area has become a minibeast investigation zone where the children can hunt and explore to their hearts content! We have also been exploring shapes this week in maths. As the weather was so lovely we went on a shape hunt in the outside area and spotted so many different kinds of shape!

This week we were also lucky enough to go on our trip to the wonderful Ladyland Farm. We had a fantastic day, jam packed with feeding sheep, calves, goats, stroking day old chicks and ducklings, and a rather bumpy but brilliant tractor ride! The children loved being able to be so close to the animals and it really was a fabulous learning experience! Thank you very much to the kind volunteers who came along and helped make the day so wonderful.

Fun at the farm

I cannot believe it is almost time for the Easter Holiday already! In Reception we have had another week packed full of exciting learning and discovery.

The week began with a fabulous book called ‘Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type’ in which a Farmer has a little problem when the cows on his farm get hold of a type writer and decide to go on strike, sending letters with demands of electric blankets¬†in exchange for their milk! The class were delighted when I then opened a letter addressed to them from Framer Brown himself, telling them about all the other animals and their various problems! They decided the only option was to write back to Farmer Brown with their own ideas of how to keep the animals happy!


As always in Reception, we have been exploring our creativity during our ‘Farm’ topic using a range of mediums from printing to junk modelling. It has been fabulous to see how imaginative and resourceful many of the children have become over the course of the year, demonstrating such imagination when it comes to creating¬†models and crafts, often now working completely independently from the designing stage through to the final piece! Here are a few examples of our wonderful farm headbands and tractors!




This week we have been having a great time practising adding two groups of objects together and then writing it as a ‘number sentence’. The children have picked up this idea brilliantly and are already beginning to make connections between numbers using their mental arithmetic as well as practically counting objects.


As I have mentioned previously, we have been making great progress with our tricky words alongside learning our digraphs in phonics. I have added a link below to the tricky word song we use to help us on you tube. Just a little warning, it is very catchy! It is worth noting that the song refers to the letters as their ‘letter name’ as opposed to their ‘sound’.

Tricky word song



Reception Snow Day Activities


Well what a week we have been having! I hope everyone isn’t going too mad and you are managing to enjoy the snow without getting too chilly!

As you don’t have your homework books, I have written a range of activities for you to choose from. There are things for both inside and out as I was aware some of you may prefer to stay warm and cosy rather than braving this mad weather! Please choose two or more activities and make a note of what you do either with photographs, drawings or of course on paper and then we can share them together next week. You may have been doing lots of other exciting, creative snow based activities so of course feel free to record these too!

  1. Snow writing- Have a go at writing letters/digraphs/tricky words in the snow. You could use a stick, paintbrush or your finger if you are wearing gloves!
  2. Snow kitchen- Collect ant old pots, pans and kitchen equipment and allow your children to make a snow kitchen outside. This will hopefully encourage lots of fantastic mathematical language, half full, half empty, more than, less than etc.

3. Draw a picture of the book character you were going to dress up as and use the tricky words ‚Äėhe‚Äô or ‚Äėshe‚Äô to describe your character. For example, ‚ÄėShe is brave. She has long hair‚Äô etc.

4. Build the tallest snowman you can and then measure it using your hands, can you note how tall it is and maybe take a photo?

5. Outdoor Number line- Make an outdoor number line using sticks, leaves, stones etc. For example: 1 pinecone, 2 stones, 3 plant pots, 4 sticks etc.

6. Snow ball target- Either make a target or draw one in the snow, give each circle a different value and see if you can add up your score as you aim your snowballs.

7. Treasure Hunt- (Either outside or inside) Hide some ‚Äėtreasure‚Äô and give your child either verbal or for an extra challenge, simple written clues for them to follow to find the treasure.

8. As it is World Book Day today, share a book with your child. Can you spot any digraphs or tricky words? Can your child draw a picture from their favourite book? Or perhaps write a sentence about what they like about the book or characters?

9. Make up a game that uses dice. Maybe your children could think of an action and the number they role dictates the number of times they complete this action? For example: Star jumps, skips, touch your toes, claps etc.

10. Snow Paint- fill plastic bottles (spray bottles work best but any will do) with water and a little food colouring and allow your children to experiment making pictures that will wash away in the snow


I hope you are able to have a go at some of these ideas over the next few days and I look forward to hearing about all your adventures!

See you soon and stay safe,


Reception’s farm shop open for business!

Welcome back to a new term¬†in Reception¬†and a new topic. Our learning this term will be based around ‘Farms and Growing’. This week the children got fully stuck in enjoying our farm shop role play area, flogging vegetables like professional market sellers shouting, “Potatoes, potatoes, get your potatoes here!!”


We have had a wonderful week of learning inspired by Eric Carle’s story ‘The Tiny Seed’. Many of the children came in after half term bursting with stories of their growing beans getting so tall over the break. For anyone who’s bean didn’t grow please don’t worry as we planted a class bean that I have been keeping alive in the classroom so everyone can see how it changes and develops over time. To link with our topic we also now have an investigation area where we are closely watch some plants and flowers as they grow.

I have been thrilled with how well everyone has been learning their tricky words. This week we have been playing lots of games to practise recognising them, singing out tricky word song and throwing bean bags in hoops with our tricky words in outside.