Reception w/b 15th May
Date: 19th May 2023 @ 4:39pm
One small step for man, one giant leap for Reception! Wow, what a fantastic Space Day we all enjoyed! It has been such a valuable way to enrich, extend and celebrate our space learning. We must firstly thank you for all of your amazing effort with the costumes. Each and every child was delighted with their space costume and they wore their outfits and their smiles beautifully. Our day began with chance to share our costumes with the class. Next, Year 1 and Reception were visited by our Patron of Reading, Mrs Winward, to talk about our penultimate book review challenge. More information can be found in this week’s newsletter. Then, it was time to begin our carousel of crafts for the day! As ever in EYFS, we delight in a ‘process not product’ approach (although I must say, the products were great!). This meant that it was really important for the children to be involved in the steps of the crafts to fully understand how and why they worked.
With Miss Toft, the children made ‘galaxies in a bottle’ – sensory bottles inspired by ‘Star in the Jar’. They used food colouring, baby oil, water and glitter/sequins. It was mesmerising to shake the bottles and watch the contents swirl around, just like a galaxy. The children noted that the oil did not mix with the water and noticed the bubbles that were created as a result. Lots of careful measuring and pouring was observed. With Miss Witham, children made telescopes. After decorating the telescopes however they pleased, it was time for children to attach the tubes together. I did the tricky part with the craft knife, allowing children to insert the split pin and have fun extending their telescopes. This use for split pins was new to us so it will be interesting to see if this influences our junk modelling creations within the provision. The children also drew a space-themed design onto some acetate which was attached to the end of a telescope, making a sort of combination of a telescope and a kaleidoscope! At Mrs North’s station, the children have been creating squeezy bottle rocket launchers. Two different thicknesses of straws were used – the thin straw was half inserted into the bottle whilst the end of the thick straw was taped to prevent air escaping. After creating a rocket and attaching it to the thick straw, the thick straw was placed over the thin straw. When the bottle is squeezed, air cannot escape from the thick straw and so it shoots into the air, thus launching the rocket! We discovered that the rockets travelled even further if they were launched at an angle, prompting interesting discussions about real rocket launches and their trajectories – wow!
Perhaps the highlight of our day was our visit to the Wonder Dome. It truly lived up to its name and was an experience full of awe and wonder. The children gasped and exclaimed with delight throughout the experience and they were simply enthralled by the planetarium show. They had lots of prior knowledge to share with Annette, our space expert, and it was so pleasing to observe them pointing out planets that they know and sharing facts about them. We learnt lots about our solar system. The dome made it much easier to understand the way in which the planets orbit the Sun as they circled around the dome. Annette taught us about terrestrial planets, gas giants and ice giants. We also learnt that the Earth could fit into the Sun 1.3 million times! We also saw footage of the moon landing and learnt what is next for space travel. Thank you to Annette and Wonder Dome for a magically memorable experience.
To end our day, we tried some astronaut food. We learnt that, as space missions got longer, astronauts needed to find ways to take food that would last a long time without going off. As a result, they take lots of freeze-dried food. We tried freeze-dried strawberries, bananas and ice cream (vanilla and chocolate). These were all delicious! As the children have been singing it all day, our background music for this final activity was Sam Ryder’s ‘Spaceman’.
What an unforgettable day it has been! Thank you ever so much for your support with our Space Day, from costumes to providing cardboard tubes and bottles.
Onto other news! From Monday to Thursday this week, phonics, guided reading and handwriting continued. It is such a pleasure to the children’s phonics knowledge transferring so beautifully to their independent writing. Reading continues to progress pleasingly and I shall complete a the remainder of the reading checks next week. As the expectations/amount of writing increases, we are noticing a bit of a regression in the children’s handwriting as they have lots of other elements of writing to think about. We are therefore going to have more of a push on letter formation. It is our intention to accompany this push within school with a weekly homework task. From next week, I shall send out a handwriting homework activity. This will be accompanied by a Dojo message to explain all.
In maths, we started to explore number bonds of 10. The children are picking this up so quickly and are showing an impressive understanding. On Monday, we used Numicon shapes, working out which two shapes could fit together to make the 10 shape. Next, we used double dice frames, helping us to subitise the parts of 10. We have used finger patterns to represent 2 parts of 10, using the ‘fingers up and fingers down’ approach (e.g. when holding 7 fingers up, 3 fingers are folded down – 7 + 3 = 10). Finally, we have explored the composition of 10 using ten frames. This focus will continue throughout the summer term. Next week, we shall use part-whole models as a further representation.
In English, we have written the first half of our ‘finding stories’, writing the ‘Opening Octopus’ and ‘Build-up Bear’ sections. The children have expertly used the story map to retell this story, innovating it by choosing a new main character. They orally retell the story map with fantastic fluency, so it is no surprise that this is translating into beautifully written stories. This week, we have challenged the children to write with more independence, a good skill to develop in readiness for Year 1 (I know – I can’t believe how quickly it is approaching either!). There is a lot to remember – holding our sentence whilst remembering to use capital letters, full stops, finger spaces, beautiful handwriting and using our Fred Fingers! Next week, we shall finish our stories by writing our ‘Problem Penguin’ and ‘Ending Elephant’ paragraphs.
Our understanding the world focus has been light and shadows. We had a think about why we have day time and night time. We watched a video of the Earth spinning on its axis. When half of the Earth is facing the Sun and is illuminated, it is daytime in this half of the world. The other half is not facing the Sun so is in darkness – it is nighttime in this half of the world. This is why countries have different time zones. Whilst not a concept we would expect Reception children to understand, we wanted to explore this together after one of the children had asked ‘Why do we have nighttime?’ We also used a globe and a torch to have a look at this concept in action. This led to a fascination with shadows. We watched the company ‘Attraction’ performing at the Royal Variety Show and were amazed at the shapes and shadows they could create to tell a story. This inspired us to explore and create shadows in provision time. We have been manipulating our hands to create animal shadows with torches – Miss Witham has just about mastered the butterfly! We have also made good use of the sunny weather to look at the shadows created by objects/people and draw around them with chalk.
This week, we were introduced to the artist Kandinsky. Our work with colour mixing made him the perfect artist to investigate. We looked at a range of his artwork but particularly liked ‘Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles’. The children have each created their own square with concentric circles that we shall attach together to create our own giant painting. The children were just given the three primary colours (red, blue and yellow) so needed to use their colour mixing skills to create a range of colours and shades.
In RE, after reminding ourselves of the story of Pentecost, we focused on the fact that it is considered to be the birthday of the church after 3000 people were baptised. We thought about how these people would feel as they accepted the Holy Spirit into their hearts. We decided to celebrate the ‘birthday of the church’. Children made party hats decorated with images that reminded them of the Holy Spirit. We have also been making windmills, to remind us that, like the wind, we cannot see the Holy Spirit but we can feel it. As we blow into these windmills, we can say a prayer.
Music with Rex and ball skills in PE have continued. Wow – what a busy week! Once again, I am missing photographs, this time of the non-Space Day activities. I shall have to locate the iPad which contains all of these photographs – as of this afternoon, it evades me!
There is still one more week of Summer 1 fun to enjoy, including Thursday’s Forest School Day. We hope for glorious sunshine on this day! I hope that you all enjoy a wonderful weekend and the beautiful weather it promises to bring.
With many thanks as ever,