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Fabulous Frogs!

We’ve been very lucky this year in Onyx class as we had some frogspawn arrive in our classroom way back in April.

It was very exciting after Miss Parker spotted some frogspawn in her pond and asked if we’d like to have some in school. Everyone said yes of course! Everyone already had a good idea about what would happen to it.

We watched our frogspawn as the tadpole began to hatch and thought what we might like to learn more about.

As we continued to watch the tadpoles grow we got an email from Miss Hulme and Diamond class in Nursery. They wanted to know if we could teach them more about our frogspawn and tadpoles. We decided that we would make them a book but as we find out lots of information on the computer that we’d make an ebook on the iPad for them. We had to find out some more information first so we knew we were teaching them the right things.

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You can read our book for Nursery here. If you look at the book on the iPad it even has videos of our tadpoles in it. Please ask to see it in school.

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Everyone was very excited about the tadpoles and waited to see if they were frogs yet. Some of our parents and carers even stopped off each morning to see what was happening.

Finally after waiting a really long time our tadpole started to get legs at the front then the back. Eventually they turned into frogs! Can you see they still have a little bit of their tails left? 

We shared our learning with our parents and carers in our floor book and some parents commented on how they’d been continuing the learning at home. We love to hear when this has been happening.

Unfortunately we couldn’t keep the frogs at school forever. Miss Parker had to take them back to the pond where they came from so they could continue to grow. Maybe next year they’ll be the ones to lay the frogspawn and we’ll have some more at school.

 

What have we been learning? 

  • To watch animals and see how they move and change over time. 
  • To learn information from different sources and transfer this to telling others.
  • To care for living creatures and make sure they are fed and the water is clean.
  • To talk about our observations of living creatures.
  • To describe the life cycle of a tadpole/ frog.
  • To be patient!!!

How can you continue the learning at home? 

  • It will be too late for this year now but next Spring do the same as Corey’s mum and look for Frogspawn in the local ponds. 
  • Talk about life cycles- How is the frog lifecycle the same as the butterfly? How is is different? 
  • Can you find any books at the Library (school or Manor Top) which have information in about life cycles? What else can you find out about? 

 

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Beautiful Butterflies

We’ve had some visitors in our classroom for the last few weeks. It has been wonderful watching our tiny caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies right before our eyes.

Look how tiny the caterpillars were when they first arrived.

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This is what we had to say when our caterpillars first arrived.

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They ate and ate and ate and grew and grew and grew! Quickly the doubled and trebled in size. Can you see all five caterpillars in there? 

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Soon they were ready to spin their cocoons and start becoming butterflies. We knew they were ready because they hung upside down.

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While our caterpillars were growing and getting ready to become butterflies we decided we wanted to learn about caterpillars and butterflies. We talked about how they’d got bigger and what would happen to them next. We also thought about if we knew any stories about caterpillars. Everybody remembered seeing The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle before.

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We decided we’d like to try all the fruit just like the Hungry Caterpillar had done. Miss Parker set us a challenge though…. we had to think of as many words as we could to describe the taste of the fruit instead of always saying nice or yummy. Miss Parker wanted to know why it was nice and yummy. We also found out our favourite class fruit. Can you remember which fruit was the most popular? 

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We tried to retell the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in words and in writing. The children decided they’d like to tell their families the story at our next storytelling workshop. Look out for the date coming soon. We are starting to write more and more and Miss Parker tried to trick us by making mistakes when she was writing. We were just too clever though and managed to fix them all.

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We had such a busy time learning about caterpillars and butterflies. Look what our families had to say when they looked in our floor book.

We’d loved having our caterpillars then butterflies in the classroom and really enjoyed watching them as they moved and began to fly more and more.

Finally it was time to say goodbye to our butterflies and let them go and fly out in the real world. Although they loved our classroom it was time to let them see the rest of the world. I wonder where they are now? Keep looking to see if they come and visit you in your garden.

What have we been learning?

  • About the life cycle of Caterpillars and Butterflies. 
  • To retell a known story using story language. 
  • To think of as many words to describe taste as possible. 
  • To try new foods we might not have had before.
  • To look for patterns in stories and the environment around us. 
  • To look after animals who need us to be careful and considerate. 
  • To write our ideas in sentences. 

 

How can you continue the learning at home? 

  • Look for butterflies in your garden. What do they look like? Can you find out which species of butterfly they are? 
  • Can you explain the life cycle to a grown up? For an extra challenge can you draw or write about the Butterfly Life Cycle. 
  • Can you remember the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and tell it to a grown up? Remember to use the special story language we used in school. 

 

  • We will be holding our storytelling event in the last week of the half term. Look out for more information coming soon. 
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How Many Legs?

We have been busy doing lots of Maths in school and because we love stories so much our teachers have been looking at the best stories so we can do Maths and stories together. We’ve also been learning about the different animals we’ve currently got in our classroom (tadpoles and caterpillars) so it fitted in perfectly when we found this story….

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We loved reading the story and starting to work out how many legs the animals had on their own and together. We started to draw them and write the numbers so we could remember.

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We talked about how to record the calculation when we added more than one animal together. We also talked about how you can correct your recording if you get it wrong first time.

 

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Then we looked at checking our calculations by jumping on a number line.

Some of us practised counting how many legs were on the animals when they were stood by themselves. We had to find the number and write it in our books. Miss Parker gave us some extra challenges as well, such as, what is one more?

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Some of us added two of the animals together and had to record the calculation to show how many legs altogether. This was a bit trickier but we could count the legs together and as one group.

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Some of us were given a problem to solve such as can you find me a total of 6 legs? Or can you find me a total of 10 legs.  We had to count the legs until we found two animals which had that total of legs. After that we had to record it in our books as a calculation. We had to find all the ways to find a given number of legs, such as how many ways can you make 8 legs? 

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Some of us were given a harder problem and had to find a way of making the total with 3 animals.

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Miss Parker then left the animals out in the classroom for us to use if we wanted too.

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What have we been learning?

  • to count how many legs on each animal. 
  • to count groups of objects altogether.
  • to solve problems using objects to help us. 
  • to record calculations using + and =. 
  • to look for the maths in a story. 

 

How how can you continue the learning at home? 

  • Look for any Maths in stories you read together. There are lots of examples, e.g. The Very Hungry Caterpillar- number of objects, one more fruit, patterns looking at the symmetrical butterfly. 
  • Count two groups of objects together, such as, how many strawberries have I got? How many have you got? How many have we got altogether? 
  • Solve different Maths problems together at home, such as I’ve got 2 plates out for dinner, how many more do I need for everyone to have one?

 

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Our New Writing Journals

You might have heard about our new Writing Journals which we keep in our drawers in the classroom. If not ask your child about theirs and have a look in their drawer. Now we’re into the Summer term and starting to get ready for Year One we are practicing our writing more. Every week we have to write in our book at least once, although we can write in it every day if we want to. We can choose to write about anything we want. Every time we write in our book we get a special ‘writing journal’ ticket and it goes in the special box. On Friday we pull out a winner and they get a prize to take home. The more times you’ve written the better your chances of winning!

As you can see we have lots of things to help us when we write. Miss Parker and the other teachers don’t just expect us to have everything saved in our heads just yet!

  • We use a phoneme strip to help us remember our letters and sounds, especially the digraphs we have learnt. Digraphs are sounds with 2 letters such as ai, ee, ow, ar and or. We also learn trigraphs with 3 letters such as igh, ear and air.
  • We use tricky word books marks to help us remember the tricky words we have been practising in our reading such as I, go, no, the, into, she, be, me and my. If we’ve learnt to read them already then our reading can help us to write.
  • We use a sentence hand to help us remember fingers spaces and full stops. These can be hard to remember at first so the hand means we can use it make the space for us, this can be particularly helpful if you are left handed.
  • Finally, we use a sound button which means we can record our sentence before we try and write it. There is so much to remember when were trying to write out ideas down that it helps if the sound button can read our sentence back to us.

If you would like copies of any of these please ask in school and we’ll be able to get you copies of them all apart from the sound button. You could use the voice record function on your smart phone instead though.

At first the writing you see from your child might not look as you expect. This does not mean it is not ‘good’ writing. At first your child may just write letters they know and tell you the words they have written. To you they might not seem to have any links at all. Encourage them to read their writing back to you and praise them for mark making with meaning.

As writing skills develop, children will start to listen to the sounds in words and write the corresponding letters they know. They may miss a lot out to begin with but again this is developing their skills  in the correct direction. They may copy some words they know, such as their friends names.

As the children’s writing skills develop further you will be able to see how they are using some of the tricky words they know and beginning to use finger spaces in their writing. They will still be relying on their phonics skills to sound out (segment) and spell. They may know some other words which they are able to use.

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By the end of the year the age related expectation (ARE) is that FS2 children are writing sentences which can be read back by others. They will still be reliant on phonics to spell but will be showing a better use of tricky words and using more digraphs/trigraphs more accurately. Children will be using finger spaces more and in the correct place. Their sentences will relate to the same subject and continue the story or information. Every child is different though and although these are examples of what children might be writing they are not the only way of doing it. 

If you would like to know more please ask the teachers in school and we can show you more examples and also some of the statements we use to asses writing in Foundation Stage.

What have we been learning? 

  • To write with more independence. 
  • To use our phonics skills to write. 
  • To use the other resources we have in the classroom to write. 

How can you help at home? 

  • Encourage your child to write. If your child is a reluctant writer try to make it relevant, such as them helping you to write the shopping list or writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy or other favourite character. 
  • Allow your child to write independently and then ask them what it says instead of asking them to copy write what you have written. 
  • Use the different resources there are available to help your child write. There is a lot to remember when writing, especially when you’re first starting out! 
  • Bring any writing your child does at home to school and display it on a WOW moment. We’d love to see how well they’re doing.