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Year 1 Butterflies

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Year 1 - Butterfly Class - Mr Hancox and Mrs Horner

Friday 31st March 2023


P.E. Days

P.E. days are still Monday and Tuesday for the coming term; can children please come in wearing their P.E. kits on these days.  Long hair must be tied up and any watches, earrings or other jewellery removed.  Children should have shorts and jogging bottoms for P.E. as sessions may be indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. They can bring their shorts in their rucksacks to change into if it is an indoor session.


Meet the Teacher

Thank you to everybody who was able to attend the 'Meet the Teacher' session in September.  If you weren't able to attend, the PowerPoint for the session, along with any other relevant documents, are attached to the bottom of this page.


Home Learning

English:  Make time to read with your child for approximately 5-10 minutes every day.  Children are encouraged to change their reading books regularly, however you can find extra reading material on the Oxford Owl website.  Our Library Day is every Thursday, so children can also bring their library books back and exchange them for new ones then.

You don't need to record each daily reading session in your child's Reading Diary, but do make an entry at least twice a week; whenever they finish a book; or to say that they enjoyed a particular story you've shared. 

The Reading Diary also contains lists of our Phonics sounds, along with Learning Tools to compliment your child's reading, and get them thinking, talking and sharing their opinions about the books they've read.

At the back of the Reading Diary, there are also Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates for them to earn too, which are awarded upon completion of 5, 10 and 15 of the Learning Tools respectively.  House Points are also on offer to those children who earn their Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.

Spelling Shed and online games:  Additionally, children can practise their spellings online using the Spelling Shed logins which are in the front of their Reading Diaries: word lists including learning to spell the months of the year, days of the week, and high frequency and tricky words in line with our current Phonics learning.  There are also a range of word games, maths games and coding games available to play in the 'Assignments' section of the Brainzy website for which the children also have login letters.

Phonics:  This week, as well as reading all the words on our Word Wall and practising our "Alien" words, we revised our tricky Phase 5 split digraphs a_e (snake), e_e (even), i_e (slide), o_e (phone), u_e (oo - June) and u_e (yoo - cube) ; look out for these words and sounds in your reading and conversation.  The Phonics Play website also has some excellent free resources and games for extra practise, and there are some "Alien" word flashcards attached to the bottom of this page.

Maths:  (20-30 minutes per week)  Following the White Rose Maths scheme, we've been looking at length and height, mass, and capacity and volume.  Can your child compare the lengths, heights, weights or capacities of things they see around them?  Putting their knowledge into practise by doing some cooking or baking at home over the Easter break will help them understand the importance of measuring weights and volumes accurately. They could even try the White Rose 1 Minute Maths App for extra practise, as well as any Maths games set on Brainzy or Purple Mash.

Number recognition is also important in Year 1, and the children frequently struggle to recognise the tricky teen numbers between 10 and 20.  I've attached some number recognition flashcards to the bottom of this page if you'd like to practise at home.  The 'Out and About' cards on our maths page also have some great ideas for exploring numbers in everyday situations.

Geography:  We're learning all about the weather and how it affects our lives next term.  Can your child discover any fascinating facts by finding a book in the local library, or by doing some research online using child-friendly search engines such as Kiddle?  Perhaps you could keep a weather diary and explore how the weather changes day by day, or even make your own weather station, including a rain gauge, wind speed indicator and thermometer box - click here for details of how to do this at home

Personal P.E. Challenge: The children chose, for their personal P.E. Challenge, to see for how long they can balance on one leg.  How many seconds can your child balance on one leg for?  Can they improve their results with practise?

Extreme Reading Challenge:  For our reading wall display, we want to prove that Langrish children love to read anywhere and everywhere!

What's the most unusual place your child has read a book.  Up a tree?  In a hammock?  On the beach?  Bouncing on a trampoline?  Email us a photograph of your child reading a book in an unusual place (nothing dangerous of course!) and we'll put it up in the 'Extreme Reading' display of our new book corner.

I look forward to seeing the unusual places you've been reading your books!


Phonics Word Wall


We go through all the words on our Word Wall every day as part of our Phonics lesson.  The borders are colour-coded to indicate which book bands the words will appear in (Pink/Red, Yellow/Blue, Green/Orange), mirroring the order in which the different phonics sounds and phases are taught.

Age-related expectation is that children should be reading Orange books by the end of Year 1, and should therefore be able to read, recognise and understand all the words down to the bottom of the board when they appear in a text.  They should also be able to start using them in their own writing, utilising the Word Wall in order to help them with their spellings.

You can watch a video of Mr Hancox guiding you through the Word Wall by clicking here.


Rude, Mean or Bullying?

We recently had an assembly reminding the children about the difference between people being rude, people being mean, and behaviour that can be classed as bullying.  Ask your child to tell you the important differences between the three behaviours, as well as what they can do if they ever see or experience any form of bullying.


Internet Safety and Parental Controls

There have been instances of children across a number of year groups discussing inappropriate Internet content they have viewed at home.  Please ensure that your Internet-linked devices at home are suitably supervised and protected using the parental controls available.  For advice on how to keep your child safe online, including the use of parental controls, click this link to the NSPCC website.  If you'd like to know how to set up parental controls specific to gaming - limiting game time, in-game communication or setting spending limits for instance - click on this link to the EA Games website.


This Week's Story Time Selection

We read a range of books in our daily story time.  This week, one of them was 'I Want to Be in a Scary Story' by Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien.  It tells the story of Little Monster who wants to be in his very own scary story.  However, sometimes you should be careful what you wish for, and Little Monster soon changes his mind when things inside the story start to get just a little too scary!

Can your child tell you about the story?  What was Little Monster scared of?  Would they have been as scared as Little Monster if they went into the spooky house?  Have they ever thought they really wanted something, only to find out it wasn't quite what they'd imagined?  Maybe your child could write their own, not-so-scary story for Little Monster to take part in.

A Taste of Our Learning

Week 26 - Happy Easter!

As always, the final week of term has been a busy one.  We've been weighing and measuring in Maths, writing diary entries in English, discussing the main causes and consequences of the Great Fire of London in History, learning about Palm Sunday and the Easter story in World Faith & Philosophy, and have even found time for some Easter-based crafting and colouring, including making moving Easter cards in Design & Technology.

It just remains to wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable break from everybody here at Langrish - happy Easter, everyone!

Week 25 - Marvellous measurement, jumping for joy and sorting out sources

We're learning about measurement in Maths, beginning with a look at length and height.  The children started by comparing lengths and heights using the correct terminology (longer / shorter / taller), even measuring themselves and comparing their heights to that of various animals.  They also had a number of challenges to complete, including guessing the lengths of three pieces of string, measuring a variety of objects around the classroom, and making LEGO towers or Play-Doh sausages to specific lengths and heights.

Can your child remember their height in centimetres?  Which animals were they taller or shorter than?

The children were continuing to work on their core strength and body control in P.E. this week, concentrating on the skill of jumping.  They were challenged to jump in a variety of different ways, and to see if their jumping skills had improved since earlier in the year.  The children all agreed they felt able to jump further, more accurately, and more confidently than they had before.  They then had to put their jumping skills to the test, picking the best route across a maze of stepping stone dots.

Ask your child to demonstrate their best jumping techniques.  You could even use their new-found measuring skills to measure how far they can travel from a standing jump.

In History, we continue our work on the Great Fire of London by looking at how different historical sources provide us with information about the past.  We talked about what at 'eyewitness' is, and why Samuel Pepys' diary provides a valuable eyewitness account of the fire.  There was a great discussion about how helpful different sources were, including paintings and portraits, newspapers from the time, and artefacts that might tell us what life was like in 1666 but didn't necessarily relate directly to the fire.

Can your child tell you which historical sources were the most helpful?  Ask them what we need to bear in mind when looking at paintings of the Great Fire of London.

Week 24 - Brilliant British Science Week, playing with place value and artistic expression

It was British Science Week this week, and after an inspirational, experiment-filled assembly from Mrs Pruden on Monday morning, Year 1 launched into their own week of activities.

We used magnets to fly rockets through space, saw what happens when we put daffodils into coloured water, pushed sharp pencils into a water-filled bag without spilling a drop, and made water travel between cups, forming a rainbow in the process.  We even watched a live lesson about how tractors are connected to space!

Click this link to find more details of experiments you could try at home.

In Maths, we're looking at place value all the way up to 50.  This involves knowing how many lots of 10 and how many lots of 1 are in each number, and we've been doing this by breaking numbers down using everything from Dienes blocks and Numicon to LEGO bricks and magnetic shapes.  The children were also challenged to complete a super-sized jigsaw of a 50 square, making them think about which numbers went where, and which digits would appear in each row and column.

Look out for numbers up to 50 when you're out and about.  Can your child recognise and tell you about them?  Can they tell you 1 more and 1 less than each number you encounter?

The EARA Ambassadors at Langrish are a child-led group of Equality And Rights Advocates.  They held an assembly for the children based around a painting of a lion, discussing how different people interpreted the picture in different ways; for instance, some people felt the lion was angry and roaring, whereas others felt he was tired and yawning.  We followed up in class by talking about how we can convey our own emotions through art, remembering the work we'd previously done in Art lessons on the use of colour.  The children then created their own artworks to convey how they were feeling - with everything from 'calm' to 'crazy' being represented.

Maybe you could try the same activity at home.

Week 23 - Joyful gingerbread, terrific time travel and popular pop-up books

We've been exploring traditional tales in our English lessons, and at the moment we're looking at 'The Gingerbread Man'.  One of the best know traditional tales, the children began by splitting into groups and heading outside to rehearse and perform their own versions of the story, with the playground proving the perfect space for this chase-based tale!  Next, we read the story of 'The Runaway Pancake', comparing and contrasting the two tales before the children began planning and writing some new versions of the traditional tale with a lead character from their own imaginations.

What's the runaway foodstuff in your child's version of 'The Gingerbread Man'?

Year 1 became time travellers this week by heading into an interactive virtual museum called 'The Matrix'.  It transported them back to the streets of London in 1666, just in time to experience the Great Fire of London for themselves.

Through role play, drama, and the power of their imaginations, the children escaped from a burning building, used firehooks to pull down houses in order to make firebreaks, formed a human chain to throw buckets of water over the flames, and even met King Charles II himself!

Ask your child about their trip back in time to 1666.  Did they manage to complete all of their missions?

A little too late to add to last week's website roundup, we began our Design & Technology unit last Friday afternoon (appropriately enough on World Book Day!) by looking at books with moving elements.  The children had the opportunity to explore a wide range of titles, from lift-the-flap books and 3D pop-up books, to books with sliders and wheels, and even a book by renown 'paper engineer' Robert Sabuda called 'Ten Horse Farm'.  Their task was to evaluate the books, saying whether or not they liked them, and making notes about what they enjoyed or disliked about the different examples.

Which were your child's favourites?  Do they have any favourite pop-up books at home?

Week 22 - World Book Day, fabulous firefighters and hello to History

We celebrated World Book Day this week with some wonderful costumes and a wide range of reading-related activities.

Starting with a treasure hunt during Outdoor Learning in which the children had to recognise well-known fairy tale characters from their descriptions, we then returned to the classroom for word-searches, colouring and role-play activities all based around some of the children's favourite books and stories.  They even made their own bookmarks, so they won't lose their place when they're reading their favourite books.

What's your child's favourite story, and who did they choose to come in dressed up as on World Book Day?

Jo and Matty from Hampshire Fire and Rescue came in this week for a fun and informative session on how to keep ourselves safe around fire.  They talked about their work, as well as teaching the children what to do in case of fire, when and how to check the smoke alarms in their homes, and a catchy rhyme about not playing with matches and lighters.  The children also saw what firefighters wear, and there was even a race to see who could get into the kit faster, Mr Hancox or one of the children!

Ask your child what they remember about the visit.  Can they tell you the 'Matches and Lighters' rhyme and show you the actions?  And ask them about 'Test it Tuesday'.

We launched our Great Fire of London learning this week with a mystery table packed with books, objects and pictures that all linked to our latest History topic.  The children had a great time trying on wigs, using quill pens, and trying to figure out how rats, bread rolls and Parmesan cheese could possibly have anything to do with the events of 1666.  We also put up a timeline, tracking the chronology of the past 600 years from the children starting school in 2021, all the way back to Columbus discovering America in 1492, with 1666 falling somewhere in the middle.

Can your child tell you about any of the items, and what they had to do with the Great Fire of London?

Week 21 - Perfect pancakes, predators and prey, and heavenly handwriting

It was Shrove Tuesday this week, and after an assembly on the origins and meaning of "Pancake Day", it was time for the annual Langrish School pancake races to take place!  Children and families gathered on the playground for the classic British tradition of seeing who could make it past the finish line first with their frying pan and pancake still intact, with certificates for the first three contenders past the post.  The pancake-based fun even continued into Forest School, where the children making their own, somewhat unsavoury, pancakes in the mud kitchen!

What can your child tell you about Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday?

We were also looking at food in Science this week - specifically, food chains.  After talking about what different animals eat (and what might then eat those animals), the children were given a set of photographs and challenged to create their own three-part food chains.  Working in teams, there was lots of interesting discussion about different predators and prey, with various combinations of equally valid food chains being proposed.  In Forest School, the children even played a tagging game called 'Predators', which reinforced the vocabulary learnt earlier in the week.

Can your child give you an example of a food chain?

We do lots of writing in Year 1, but we also have a specific session just to work on our handwriting.  It all starts with the correct "tripod" pencil grip (ask your child to show you the "nip, flip and grip" method, or click here for a short video).  We then take our time to form cursive letters correctly, ready to begin using joined-up handwriting.  Following the progression of letters in the Teach Handwriting scheme, we began with straight letters (such as l, i and t) and are now perfecting our curved letters (such as c, a, d and g).

On paper, or even just with their finger in the air, can your child demonstrate the correct way to form these letters?

Week 20 - Take One Picture, Safer Internet Day and marvellous magic

This week was Take One Picture Week, a National Gallery programme designed to get children excited about art, with activities going on across the school all based around the same picture.  This year's choice was 'Surprised!" by Henri Rousseau.  In Year 1, we broke the painting up into blocks, giving each child one section of the picture and a set of watercolour paints in order to create our own large-scale version of the image.  The children loved the opportunity to get creative, especially in the inter-house challenge, and even did their own photographic recreations of the painting in the copse, featuring a suitably surprised tiger!

What can your child tell you about 'Surprised!'?

Tuesday also marked Safer Internet Day 2023.  This year's theme was 'Want to talk about it?', promoting an open dialogue between children and their families about what they do online, and how we can ensure children are able to safely make the most of what the Internet has to offer, while still being aware of the possible pitfalls, how to avoid them, and what to do if something does go wrong.  In Year 1, we heard the story of 'Hanni and the Magic Window', drew our own "magic windows", and conducted a class survey of what the children like to do on the Internet.

Can your child explain how they can keep themselves safe when they're using the Internet?  What would they do if they saw something online that they weren't sure of?

The safety theme continued when the Road Safety Magic Show came to visit Langrish. 

The children absolutely loved the mixture of magic and comedy, and it was a great way of reinforcing a number of important road safety messages, including the importance of wearing bright clothes, bicycle helmets, and using the four magic words: stop, look, listen and think.  Putting these messages across in such a fun-filled and memorable way is a brilliant method of ensuring the children know exactly how to be safe when they’re out and about, riding their bikes or scooters, or crossing the road.

Can your child tell you how they can keep themselves safe when they're out near the road?

Week 19 - Chatting about change, Cubist collages and topsy-turvy traditional tales

World Faith and Philosophy this half-term is all about the concept of change.  We began by talking about what the word 'change' means, and looking it up in the dictionary for the official definition.  We then thought about things that change and things that don't change, hearing the story of 'The Ugly Duckling' and deciding what we'd like to change about the world if we had the chance.  Finally, we looked at change in Christian culture by hearing stories from the Bible about how Jesus changed the lives of people he met, such as Jairus and Zacchaeus.

What are your child's thoughts on the concept of change?  Do you have any old photographs to show them how you've changed over the years?!

Our Art lesson went a little bit wonky this week as the children constructed some Cubist collages.  Last time we encountered Picasso, we explored the artist's use of colour in his more realistic portraits in order to convey emotion.  This week, we looked at Picasso's Cubist portraits, and discussed the concept that portraits don't always have to be completely lifelike, using the terms 'abstract' and 'realistic' to differentiate between the two styles of Cubism and Realism.  The children then had a go at their own abstract portrait, using collage techniques to cut and paste facial features into confusingly Cubist countenances.

Maybe you could try this at home using some old magazines.  I'd love to see the results!

In English we've been working hard to turn a traditional tale on its head and come up with our own versions of the 'Little Red Hen' Story.

Having learnt and written the original version, the children then went about changing characters, locations and other aspects of the story, all the while keeping the original structure and meaning of the tale intact.  So instead of a Little Red Hen baking some bread, we've had such variations as a Little LEGO Man constructing a spaceship, a Little Brown Otter making a chocolate cake and a Little Sleepy Cat building a football pitch!

Ask your child to tell you their own version of the 'Little Red Hen' story.

Week 18 - Dazzling differences, gymnastic genius and natural numbers

We were celebrating our differences in PSHE this week, and our Circle Time began with a couple of games all about discovering things that we have in common, and things that make us different from each other.

We then looked at three characters from our SCARF PSHE scheme: Harold the giraffe, Kiki the kangaroo and Derek the penguin, discussing their differences and similarities, before learning about the special interests and talents they have that aren't so obvious at first glance, and talking about how all our differences are something to be celebrated.

Ask your child about the games we played during Circle Time - maybe you could try them at home. 

During our indoor P.E. session this week, the children were honing their gymnastic skills.  Having worked on basic movements, shapes and positions over the past few lessons, this week saw them taking on arch holds and dish holds.

Forming and holding different shapes with their bodies builds up the children's strength, flexibility and co-ordination, and the children love challenging themselves to hold their positions for longer and longer each time.

Can your child safely demonstrate how they can form an arch or a dish?  Which other gymnastic shapes can they remember?

Maths learning headed outdoors this week, as the children were challenged to put their place value skills to the test with a little help from Mother Nature.  They were given two empty tens frames, and had to work with a partner in order to collect twenty natural objects in order to fill their tens frames.  They then challenged each other to make different numbers, concentrating on how many lots of ten and one each number contained.  We also had some Play-Doh mats for a little extra multi-sensory learning.

Can your child describe which numbers they made?  Maybe you could try something similar in your garden or while you're out and about.

Week 17 - Great guided reading, confident coding and perfecting place value

Guided Reading is a great way for the children to read and discuss books in a small group.  Working with a teacher, they take it in turns to read a short section of the story, talking about the narrative and vocabulary as we go.  There are independent follow-up activities too, including writing about their favourite part of the book, using the 'Silly Sentence' jigsaws to construct and copy their own crazy stories (and practise their sentence structure at the same time), pictures that test their inferring skills, and short comprehension quizzes to challenge the more independent readers.

What's your child's favourite Guided Reading activity?

In Computing, we spent last term looking at programming floor robots such as Beebots, but now we're turning our attention to coding on the computer.

We started off with some unplugged activities, using printed coding blocks to combine an object and an action together into a command (for instance, a command that makes the Tuna fish go left).  After practising block coding away from the screen, the children then had an opportunity to test their skills on the computer, using the challenges in the 'Fun with Fish' activity on Purple Mash.

Click here to log into Purple Mash and try the challenges.  Can your child demonstrate their coding skills?

There were more challenges around the classroom in Maths this week, as the children continued their work on number and place value up to 20.

They went on a Numicon hunt, finding and recognising different numbers represented by Numicon that had been hidden around the classroom.  They studied a picture of a pond to find the numbers from 1 to 20 that had been hidden in the image, and work out which ones were missing.  And they also had to work out 1 more and 1 less than different numbers between 1 and 20.

If you choose a number between 1 and 20, can your child tell you 1 more and 1 less than that number?

Week 16 - Monitoring mini-beasts, considering coastlines and marvellous music

Our outdoor learning session this week was based around our Science topic of 'Animal Survival'.  The children were tasked with predicting what types of animals they might find around the school grounds, before setting out to find and photograph as many beasts as they could.  Looking at where they discovered the different animals, the little scientists then had to decide what types of food those animals might need in order to survive, deducing the information from such clues as surrounding plants and other animals living within the same habitat.

Ask your child which animals they found.  Would they find the same types of creatures living in your back garden?  Why not go outside and have a look!

It'll be a little while before we're seriously considering a dip in the ocean, but despite this our Geography unit for the spring term is all about the seaside.  This week, we were looking at what makes the seaside different to other places.  The children looked at photographs of a range of locations, discussing what they could see using geographical terminology, including which aspects of human geography and physical geography were there.  They then had to sort the photos into three groups: the countryside, the seaside, and urban areas such as towns, cities or villages.

Ask your child what geographical features they would expect to find at the seaside; can they tell you which are human geography and which are physical geography?

Our music lessons this term are all about how music can make the world a better place.  We're exploring a range of songs in order to find different examples of how the tempo and dynamics of music vary from track to track.  The children have previously learnt about tempo, and how adjusting the tempo of a song can make it fast or slower.  This week we were thinking about the dynamics of a song, and the effect of varying the volume of music within a song - sometimes singing loudly and sometimes singing quietly.

Can your child remember the meaning of the musical terms 'tempo' and 'dynamics'?  What is their favourite song?  Does it have a fast or slow tempo, and is the music loud or quiet?

Week 15 - Careful counting, dabbling with drama and spectacular self-portraits.

In Maths this week we began looking at number and place value to 20, having covered number and place value to 10 last term.

As always, there are a range of activities on offer to help the children think about, understand and recognise different numbers.  There's a velcro ball dart board, pairing and matching activities using pegs and cards, and a challenge where children have to find a ball with a number, then find another ball with that number written as a word.

What was your child's favourite maths challenge this week?  Can they count, read and write all the numbers up to 20 as both numerals and words?

We'll be exploring the story of The Little Red Hen for the first part of this term, so this week was all about familiarising the children with this traditional tale.

Having read the story to the class, we then broke into groups and challenged the children to choose a character each and work together to act out the story.  After a little practise time, each group then had the opportunity to perform their plays for the rest of the class.

The children had lots of fun with their performances, and it was a great way of getting to know the story really well.  Can your child tell you the story of The Little Red Hen?

We began our Art unit on portraits by looking at self-portraits this week.  First, the children looked at some famous portraits by Da Vinci, Matisse and Klimt, including the world-famous Mona Lisa.  They then looked at self-portraits by Da Vinci, Warhol and Van Gogh, discussing the similarities and differences between their styles.  The children then had a go at drawing their own self-portraits, using mirrors to really analyse their features, including the shape and colour of their eyes and hair.

Did your child have a favourite portrait from the ones we looked at in our lesson?  Can they explain what a portrait is and why they are important, both now and throughout history?

Week 14 - Merry Christmas!

It's the most wonderful time of the year...but it also seems to be the busiest time of the year too!

We had our school Christmas Fayre last Friday, then this week we've performed our Nativity for the school as well as for parents and families, watched a Pantomime, eaten our Christmas lunches (wearing our Christmas jumpers) and finished the week off with our class Christmas party.  I think after all that, it's definitely time for a well-earned rest!

It just remains to say that I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year!

Week 13 - Letters to Santa, super shapes and an amazing astronaut

With Christmas just around the corner, we decided it was time for the children to write their letters to Santa.  Not only did they have to let Santa know what they would like for Christmas, they also had to say what they'd done this year to make it to the top of his 'Nice' list.  Having written stories and poems already this year, it was a great opportunity for the children to have their first go at writing in the letter format, and the fact that the letter is going to Santa is a great incentive for the children to do their very best writing, including finger spaces, full stops and capital letters.

What did your child put in their letter to Santa?  And what good deeds from this year did they tell him about?!

In the classroom, our Maths learning has involved exploring shapes for the past couple of weeks.  But the shape-based learning has continued outside of the classroom too, during the children's Outdoor Learning sessions.  They were challenged to find and photograph as many examples of real-life shapes as they could, as well as taking on some shape-based challenges using twigs, leaves and stones to make 2D shapes or to create repeating patterns.

Can you find any real-life examples of 2D and 3D shapes when you're out and about with your child?  Can they tell you the names of the shapes you spot, or any of the ones in the photos shown here?

We began learning about American astronaut Mae Jemison in History last week.

The first black woman to go into space, this week we looked at how Mae was a trailblazer who fought against the opinions of the time to follow her dream of joining NASA and going into space.  Having listened to her story and answered questions about her life and achievements, the children then made their own mini Mae model to take home.

What can your child tell you about Mae Jemison?  Do they remember the name of the NASA space shuttle Mae travelled into space on in 1992?

Week 12 - The Book of Butterflies, glorious golf and caring for cats

In English, we've been writing about 'The Book of Butterflies' for the past couple of weeks.

The unit is based on a short animation, and after watching the film, the children collected lots of vocabulary about butterflies.  We began with adjectives, allowing us to describe what the butterflies looked like.  Later, we moved on to verbs, allowing us to describe what that butterflies were doing and how they moved through the sky.

Can your child tell you what happened in the film?  Ask them if they can give you some examples of the adjectives and verbs they used to write their 'Book of Butterflies'?

It was time for tee this week, as the children have been practising golf in P.E.  We started off by learning which club was the right one to use (the driver or the putter), then set about trying to use the clubs to get the golf ball into the hoops.  The children loved trying a new game, and are slowly getting used to the techniques they'll need to be successful; these include their choice of club, and judging the right amount of strength to put into their shots depending on the distance the ball needs to cover.

Ask your child what they enjoyed most this week, and which part of their golf game their going to work on improving next week.

Kirsten from Cats Protection came in this week, and it was the purr-fect opportunity for the children to learn how to care for a cat.

The children learnt about a cat's senses - including how it uses its whiskers to sense the world around it - as well as the best things for cats to eat and drink, where cats do (and do not!) like to be stroked, and how to tell if a cat is happy and comfortable, or if it is unhappy or stressed.

What did your child learn about cats?  Can they tell you the healthiest think for a cat to drink?  Click this link for more feline fun on the Cats Protection website.

Week 11 - Impressive investigations, shaping up and Brilliant Beebots

We conducted a scientific investigation this week after a receiving a message from Marissa the Mermaid asking for our help.  Some of the scales had fallen off her tail, and she wanted to know the best material to cover the bare patches until new scales grew back.  We decided that we needed a material that was both waterproof and flexible, and discussed how we could test different materials for these properties.  Ensuring it was a fair test by using the same amount of liquid each time, the children covered their cups with a variety of materials, then dropped four pipettes full of water onto them and recorded the results.

Ask your child which materials we tested.  Which one was the best material for Marissa the Mermaid to use and why?

We began looking at the properties of 3D and 2D shapes in Maths this week.  As always, we like to keep our learning very hands-on, so the children have been making shapes using lollipop sticks and straws, figuring out which shapes are in the feely-bags by touching them, sorting shapes into groups, selecting the correct fish from a fish tank using the description of the shape on its side, and using Play-Doh to make a variety of 3D shapes.  We've also been unravelling 3D shapes to explore their properties, and making animal-themed 3D shapes by cutting and folding paper nets.

What 2D and 3D shapes can your child spot around the house or when you're out and about?

Inspired by Grace Hopper, the children became computer programmers this week, working out algorithms and writing programs for the Beebots to follow.  They had to get the Beebot from its start point to a randomly selected toy on the toy shelf using the 'Forwards', 'Backwards', 'Left' and 'Right' commands.  If they mastered that, they were then challenged to programme the Beebot again, but this time they were banned from using the 'Forwards' button!  Later in the week, they even had the chance to use their programming skills in Maths to guide the digital Beebot around a grid of 3D shapes on the Beebot iPad app.

Can your child tell you what an algorithm is?

Week 10 - Beating the bullies, Learning Detectives and Pudsey pyjama power!

It was Anti-Bullying Week this week, and on Monday, Perform came in to run drama workshops for the whole school on this important theme.

The children learnt what constitutes bullying - as opposed to somebody simply being rude or mean - and as this year's Anti-Bullying Week theme is 'Reach out', we discussed what it means to reach out, and who the children can reach out to if they ever see or experience bullying.  They also got to wear odd socks for the day to celebrate the fact that we're all different, learnt a dance to this year's theme song, and in class we talked about how to be a good friend.

Can your child tell you all about Anti-Bullying Week?

Every day in Year 1 we choose two different Learning Detectives.  Their role throughout the day is to keep an eye out for children doing excellent learning and displaying the types of learning behaviours we encourage across the school.  These include working as a team, being self-confident, showing self-control, being curious, being brave enough to take on a challenge and staying positive even if we find it tricky, being a good listener, being respectful, being resilient, and learning from your mistakes.  At the end of the day, the Learning Detectives report back to the rest of the class to celebrate their achievements.

Everybody gets a turn, so can your child describe the types of behaviours the Learning Detectives are looking out for?

We'd only just changed out of our Anti-Bullying Week odd socks when it was time to climb into our pyjamas in aid of Children in Need!  Through their input via the School Council, the children decided they wanted to raise money for Pudsey by paying £1 to come in wearing their pyjamas, as well as bringing in 50p to buy a cake at break time.  It was a fabulously fun way of raising money for an amazing cause, and throughout the day the children took part in a range of Pudsey-related actives and learnt about what Children in Need does to support a wide variety of child-focused charities.

What did your child most enjoy about supporting Children in Need this year?

Week 9 - Considering candlelight, dazzling drama and spectacular subtraction

Our World Faith and Philosophy unit this half-term is all about candlelight, and how different cultures use the symbol of candlelight in their traditions and celebrations.  We began by looking at Christianity, talking about how the candle can be used as a symbol of remembrance.  The children then got their hands on an advent wreath, and learnt that each of the four candles has a different symbolic meaning.  Later, we learnt about the Hindu festival of Diwali, hearing the story of Diwali, and finding out what the symbol of candlelight represents in Hindu culture.  We even got to make our own clay Diya lamps!

What can your child tell you about the symbol of candlelight in both Christian and Hindu tradition?

The children had an absolutely wizard time on Thursday morning, when Perform came in to take the children on an Arthurian adventure.  Merlin the wizard explained to the children that the evil witch Morgan Le Fay had stolen king Arthur's sword, Excalibur, and spirited it off to Tintagel Castle.  It was the children's job to trick Pendragon the Dragon into letting them through the castle gates in order to retrieve Excalibur from the castle's statue room, disguising themselves as statues should the wicked Morgan le Fay appear.  The children had a lot of fun, and learnt a little about the Arthurian legends along the way.

Ask your child which part of their Arthurian adventure they enjoyed the most.

Having covered place value and addition within ten, we moved onto subtraction within ten this week.

As always, there are a range of activities on hand to help the children get to grips with the tricky task of taking away.  Using physical resources such as blocks and bead strings, as well as pictorial aids including number lines and tens frames, the children are really beginning to become expert extractors.  Working in small groups with a teacher, word problems and discussions help them gain a deeper understanding by applying their knowledge of the concept through reasoning.

Maybe your child can set and mark some subtraction calculations for you! 

Week 8 - Spooky stories, marvellous materials and amazing aviation

This week began with Halloween, so what better time of year to create a spooky story.  We began by reading 'A Dark, Dark Tale', in which a mysterious box nestles within a shadowy corner of an abandoned house.  The children then went in search of our own mysterious box, which was hiding in the playground, buried under some leaves!  After trying to guess what was inside the box, the children then set about writing their own spooky stories, using the same repeated adjective structure as 'A Dark, Dark Tale'.

What was your child's story about?  Did they choose a spooky adjective, or something less scary?  And can they tell you what was hiding inside the box?!

We began our new Science topic this week, looking at 'Everyday materials'.

The children explored a wide range of objects that had been placed around the room, all made from different materials with different properties.  The children were easily able to identify the materials - including wood, plastic, metal, fabric, rock and paper - and soon got used to describing them using scientific terminology such as 'hard', 'soft', 'flexible', 'transparent', 'waterproof', 'absorbent' and 'stretchy'.

Which common everyday materials can you see around you?  Can your child identify the material and describe some of its properties?

We also began our new History unit this week, in which we'll be learning about and comparing some significant women from history.

To begin with, the children had to guess which era we'd be talking about using clues placed around the room.  There were model fighter planes, poppies, a flying helmet and goggles, books about World War II, images of aeroplanes, and pictures of a lady stood next to a Spitfire.  The children worked out we'd be beginning with World War II, and were excited to learn we'd be finding out about British ATA pilot Mary Ellis and how she single-handedly flew hundreds of different aircraft around the country.

Can your child find out any facts about Mary Ellis?

Week 7 - Poetry week progress, all about algorithms and jumping for joy!

As part of Poetry Week, we explored the acrostic poem 'Fern' from the poetry book 'The Lost Words'

After reading and explaining the poem, Year 1 became ferns themselves, starting from a small ball on the ground and unfurling until they were fully fanned ferns, just like in the poem.  After writing acrostic poems of their own names, the children then decided to write an acrostic poem about a leaf.  We went outside to explore the trees and gather some leaves, examined them closely using magnifying glasses, and came up with words to describe them that began with L, E, A and F, before finally writing our 'Leaf' acrostic poems.

What did your child write in their 'Leaf' poem.

In Computing, the children programmed each other to create LEGO models this week.

Using only four LEGO bricks, the children made a simple model, taking a clear photo at each step using the iPad.  This created a picture algorithm, and they then challenged a friend to follow the algorithm - one step at a time in the correct sequence - in order to create the same LEGO model they had made.  It was a great way of demonstrating what an algorithm is, and why it needs to include clear instructions in a specific sequence.

Maybe you could try this activity at home.  Can your child create a picture algorithm for you to follow?

We were jumping for joy in P.E. this week, as we took a long look at leaping as part of our gymnastics and body control work.

The children were challenged to jump in different ways, including from two feet onto two feet; from one foot onto two feet; from one foot onto the opposite foot, and from two feet onto one foot.

They then practised their jumping skills during a stepping stones game, in which they had to choose the best route across "crocodile-infested" waters.

Can your child demonstrate their jumping skills at home?

Week 6 - Dazzling deities, geographical juxtapositions and researching Rothko

Our World Faith and Philosophy unit this term is all about the concept of god.

First, we asked the children about what came into their minds when they thought of god, before exploring the representation of a single God in Christian culture through a number of Bible stories and discussions.

By contrast, we then explored how the Hindu tradition has many gods, representing different aspects of the supreme god, Brahma.

What can your child tell you about our discussion of deities?  Which Hindu god did they choose to draw in their book?

Photographic credits go to the children this week, as they were sent out on a Geography field trip mission.  We've been exploring the difference between human and physical geography, so as part of their outdoor learning, the children were given iPads and asked to take photos of human geography, physical geography, or - better still - the interaction between the two that we can see around the school.  They found some great examples, and, most importantly, were able to talk about the photos they'd taken - and why they'd taken them - during discussions afterwards.

Can your child tell you (or show you) the difference between human geography and physical geography?

In Art this week we continued looking at the use of colour by exploring the work of Mark Rothko.

Rothko's abstract paintings use large blocks of colour to convey feelings and emotions.  First, we examined a number of Rothko's colour field paintings, talking about why we liked or disliked them, how they made us feel, and whether or not the images reminded us of anything (which they did - with everything from moonlight and waterfalls to flowers and Liquorice Allsorts getting a mention!)

The children then chose colours to create their own simple colour field artwork.  Which colours did your child choose and why?

Week 5 - Crazy crocodiles, fabulous phonics and amazing adaptation

Our English this week has centred around Roald Dahl's classic story 'The Enormous Crocodile'.

After discussing the structure of the story and talking about beginnings, middles and endings in general, we then looked at adjectives and wrote some sentences describing the Enormous Crocodile.  The children then wrote some descriptive sentences about the other characters in the story, and finally created alternative endings in which the Enormous Crocodile is given a second chance to change his ways.

What was your child's alternative ending, and how would they describe the characters?

Our Phonics lessons are based around the DfE validated programme Smart Kids Letters & Sounds: The Code, and consists of five short, 2-minute bursts focusing on the key skills.

First we go through all the sounds using flashcards, then we practise segmenting and blending using words containing that day's focus sound.  We then read all the words on the Word Wall from top to bottom, before finally choosing two words from the Word Wall to create two sentences, making sure we include capital letters, finger spaces and full stops.

See the Phonics and Phonics World Wall sections in the Home Learning menu for more details.

As part of our 'Habitats' unit, Science this week focused on adaptation.  We looked at the many different ways in which animals have adapted to their habitats, both physically and behaviourally, in order to survive.

Looking at sea creatures in particular, we examined how fish have gills in order to breathe underwater, as well as how sea-living mammals such as dolphins and whales have blow-holes to make breathing at the surface easier.  We also talked about how some chimpanzees - like humans - have made the behavioural adaptation of using tools in order to catch food.

What can your child tell you about adaptation?

Week 4 - An amazing assembly, marvellous maps and cheerful choosing

A big thank you to everybody who was able to support our Harvest Assembly on Friday, either by coming along in person or by sending donations for our local PACT Food Bank.

The children did a fantastic job of sharing their learning about harvest time.  They recited a poem called 'Harvest Time is Here Again', revealed their favourite fruits and vegetables, talked about what crops need in order to grow, read some harvest acrostic poems, and ended by performing a catchy song about eating fruit!

We hope you enjoyed the assembly, and I hope the song about fruit isn't stuck in your head for too long!

In Geography, we continued looking at our local area by examining maps of Petersfield.

The children identified the town, and noted how the A3 divided the map, with the town centre, including lots of streets and buildings, on one side, and green space on the other.

They then colour coded a map according to land use, using blue for residential areas (built-up areas with houses and shops), and green for the agricultural areas (fields and farmland).

What types of land use can you see on your journey to or from school, or even from your bedroom window?  Is it mostly residential or agricultural?

We work hard in Year 1, but it's important to make time for lots of play too!

The children still have regular sessions set aside in the timetable for Choosing Time.  They can dress up, play role-play games, build blanket dens, play with cars, LEGO or dinosaurs, or even just choose to do a little bit of quiet colouring.

It may look like playtime, but really of course it's all still learning; learning to share, take turns, solve problems, resolve disputes and use their imaginations.

Ask your child which activities they most enjoy during Choosing Time.

Week 3 - Outdoor explorations, magical music and getting creative for Christmas

Year 1 have been exploring animals and habitats in our Outdoor Learning sessions, helping to reinforce what we've been learning in Science about nature and the seasons.

Looking for variation in living things, they tracked down a variety of minibeasts, and had a close look at them using magnifying glasses and viewing pots.

The children then got creative with autumnal natural materials, making their own minibeasts out of twigs, leaves and acorns.

What minibeasts can you find in your garden?  Maybe you could try some autumnal art of your own this weekend.

We introduced a performance element to our Music lesson this week, when the children finally got their hands on the glockenspiels.

Playing along to the song '1-2-3-4-5', the children first played only the simple two-note accompaniment (C and D).  Once they'd mastered the rhythm of the song, they then tried using the notes C and D to improvise their own pattern to accompany the music.

Finally, the children voted to try the tricker five-note accompaniment (A, B, C, D, and E), and did a fabulous job of playing along to the music.  I think we might even have some future professional musicians in Butterfly Class!

No, that wasn't a mistake in the heading; despite it still being September, we've been fabulously festive in Year 1 this week by creating some eye-catching Christmas cards.

The children made their snowy backgrounds first using fingerprint-painting, then chose either a Christmas tree, a Christmas jumper or a Christmas stocking to colourfully customise and add to their designs.

The children's Christmas cards will be coming home very soon, giving your plenty of time to order cards, tags and other goodies featuring your child's design in time for Christmas.  Click here for more details from the Cauliflower Cards website.

Week 2 - Amazing acrostics, brilliant balance and marvelling at Mondrian

We have our Harvest Festival Assembly in a matter of weeks, so we're preparing by writing some acrostic poems all about harvest time.

Having learnt about the festival, the children then came up with as many harvest-related words as the could beginning with the letters H, A, R, V, E, S and T.  We then set about putting them into an acrostic poem; first woking together as a class, and then with the children writing their own poems.

Can your child tell you which words they chose to include?  They may even be able to recite their harvest acrostic poem to you.

In P.E. we've been practising our core strength and body control through a series of balance challenges.

Firstly, the children were challenged to balance on one point, then two, then three (for example, two hands and a foot), all the way up to balancing on five points, with extra points on offer for originality!  They then had to balance with a partner, starting on two points, then finding different ways to balance on three, four, five or six points, counterbalancing each other if necessary.

Maybe your child can demonstrate their balancing skills at home!

We're exploring colour in our Art lessons this term, and we began this week by looking at the primary colours: red, yellow and blue.

This week, we took a close look at the work of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and in particular how he used geometric shapes and primary colours (along with black and white) to create his striking and instantly recognisable images.  Having viewed and appraised a number of his works, the children then set about creating their own Mondrian-style patterns, using the same geometric shapes and only primary colours.

Can your child tell you anything about Piet Mondrian?  What did they think of his paintings?

Week 1 - Remembering the Queen, creating charters, curious about counting and hearing about habitats

We were all heartbroken by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II this week.  In class, we took time to explore her life and legacy in an age-appropriate way, with the children having particularly fond memories of the street party we held at school earlier this year to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.

Langrish is a Rights Respecting School, and Article 12 of the UNCRC states that it's important for the children to have a say in all things that affect them.  To that end, we always begin the year by talking to the children about their rights, and inviting them to create their own class charter based on which Articles they think are most important.  We also discussed staying safe online, and explored Internet safety through a variety of stories, including Jessie and Friends.  The children then agreed their own E-Safety Charter based on what they'd learnt about using the Internet safely.

Ask your child about how we created our class charters, or click on the links to learn more about the UNCRC or Jessie and Friends.

In Maths, were leering about number and place value up to 10.

We began by counting objects and sorting them into groups, discussing different ways in which we could sort shapes according to their similarities and differences.  We also looked at representing numbers using counters or blocks, and placing them into tens frames to make them easier to count.

There have also been hands-on, independent activities, including dot-to-dot pictures, number jigsaws and making Play-Doh numbers.

Which activities did your child most enjoy this week?

In Science, we began our 'Habitats' topic by discussing what the word 'habitat' means.

We talked about living things - both plants and animals - and defined a habitat as a place where plants and animals live.

The children were each then given a picture of an animal and had to search around the classroom to find the habitat where their animal would live, choosing from the polar regions, the desert, the forest, the ocean, the rainforest, a back garden, a farm or a pond.

Which animal did your child have, and what was its habitat?  How did they know?

Our Awards

  • Arts Mark Gold
  • Music Mark
  • RRSA Silver
  • Platinum Sports Mark