Reception w/b 18th September
Date: 22nd Sep 2023 @ 4:40pm
It has once again been a joy and a delight to spend the week in Reception, observing the magic of new learning opportunities, some beautiful explorative play and many wonderful friendships blossoming. The children have worked very hard and I have no doubt that they will be ready for an early night tonight.
In phonics, the children were most excited to be introduced to our first single letter sounds, with the help of Fred the frog. From Monday to Thursday, we introduced the following four sounds: m, a, s, d and then reviewed on Friday. In addition to recognising/reading these sounds, we have also practised writing them, in some small groups. Each sound has a handwriting phrase:
m – ‘down Maisy, mountain, mountain’
a – ‘around the apple, down the leaf’
s – ‘slither down the snake’
d – ‘around the dinosaur’s bottom, up his tall neck, down to his feet’
We were very careful to start in the correct place and keep our pencil stuck to the paper until we had formed the whole letter. We have been very impressed with our Reception phonics superstars! Our phonics lessons follow the structure shown within our phonics parent meeting. If you were unable to attend this meeting, you can find a recording of the PowerPoint, along with a variety of Read Write Inc. parent resources/information on our school website: Teaching and Learning – Curriculum – Reading – Read Write Inc. (https://www.breretonprimaryschool.org.uk/page/read-write-inc/84262 ). There are handwriting sheets for each sound if you would like to practise forming m, a, s, d at home. Links to videos for each sound, along with oral blending videos, can be found in this week’s ‘How to support at home’ document.
This week, we also started our NCETM Mastering Number sessions. Our focus has been quantifying sets of objects by subitising (or, as we call it, speedy spotting), rather than counting. When subitising, children can say how many there are in a small group of objects by ‘just seeing’ and knowing straightaway without needing to count. More information about subitising can be found in this week’s ‘How to support at home’ document. This week, we have:
- Looked at a set of objects and shown the same number on our fingers
- Named quantities with number words, (e.g. “I can see 3.”)
- Matched sets to numerals
- Made our own arrangements that can be subitised
We have particularly focused on ‘speedy spotting’ groups of 1, 2 and 3 and have matched these sets with the corresponding numerals and Numicon shapes.
This week, we added a new card to our visual timetable…‘English’. At this stage in Reception, our English sessions focus on oracy skills and, as they always will, have quality texts at their heart. This week, we focused on the traditional tale, ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’. We began with a mystery bag, revealing clues including a bowl, chair, bed, bear ears, a Goldilocks puppet and story logs. It didn’t take long for the children to guess our story! They have then loved telling the story in all of the different voices, joining in with repetitive phrases. It has been lovely to watch this extending to the provision, as the children have retold the story with the puppets or acted it out in the home corner and nature kitchen. Later in the week, the children confidently recounted the story so that we could draw a story map together, which we have then referred to for our retellings. We have also ‘hot seated’ the bears and Goldilocks as the children asked some super questions. In the provision, we have been making puppets, sending letters as Goldilocks to say ‘sorry’ to the bears, organising a ‘sorry’ party in the home corner, drawing characters from the story, building beds/chairs in the construction and junk modelling areas. We have also been singing the song, ‘When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO21SNLF5P4
In Forest School, we enjoyed making models of the bears. Mr Simmons showed us how to shape the clay to create the body of the bear; this was super for developing hand strength and fine motor skills. We then collected natural objects to press into the clay, adding features to the bears.
On Wednesday, it was time for PE and we were very impressed with how well the children had remembered the PE routines. We were able to speedily begin our warm up, once again travelling like twinkling stars, floating stars, shooting stars and crouching down when we heard ‘daytime’. We also practised standing in a strong star shape, demonstrating strong body tension like a gymnast. We then recapped our shapes: rocket shape, star shape, straddle star, moon (tuck), dish shape, flying saucer (arch), squatty alien, pike alien. We then worked in partners to play a copying game – could we copy the shapes chosen by our partners?
Towards the end of the week, we had our first RE sessions. To begin with, we opened our ‘Chatterbox’. Inside we found: a thumbprint, a book of names, a mirror, skin tone coloured pencils, two baby ultrasound scan pictures (one of one baby, and one of twins), a camera, a book about feelings (The Colour Monster), pictures of the faces of children from all around the world, a bottle with a name on it and a nursery rhyme book. These objects were received with enthusiasm and generated discussion about the fact that we are all special and very loved. For example, we thought about our names, chosen carefully by our grown-ups who love us. We then read the story ‘Clever Cub Explores God’s Creation’, introducing the Christian concept that God made the world and everything in it, including people! This story also introduced the idea that God made each one of us the same but different; we are all special and He loves us very much. Through ideas generated by the children, we have been creating thumbprint and handprint pictures, and will be hanging these onto our prayer tree at the suggestion of the children.
This RE unit links beautifully with our PSED focus ‘Valuing difference’. This week, we have continued to think about the fact that we are all special and loved. We thought about what makes each person so special. We focused on ways in which we are the same as each other and the ways in which we are different. In partners, children talked to each other to find out: What things are the same about us? What things are different about us? We concluded that it is wonderful that we are all different – things would be boring if we were all the same!
Our Makaton signs of the week have been: ‘play’ and ‘tidy up’, signs we use regularly with all of our wonderful provision time. There are some videos below so that you can enjoy learning these signs together at home.
Next week, we will begin to learn all about harvest and much of our learning will be inspired by ‘The Little Red Hen’. This is always a firm favourite!
Now that the children are settling well into school life, we shall introduce the ‘book change’ routine. It will be a little while before the children will bring home decodable books, so we shall begin with choosing from our ‘Reading for Pleasure’ books; books to share with a grown up at home. We will change these books on a Monday and Thursday, as these are our ‘book change days’ throughout KS1 so it will be useful to establish this routine now, ready for receiving our decodable books later in the year.
Goodness me, what a lot of learning has taken place in Reception this week! It has been such fun and next week will certainly bring many exciting activities…perhaps even some baking! I must congratulate the children on completing another full week and being such superstars. As we approach the middle of our first half term, we are aware that the children still have lots to absorb within the busy school week and have no doubt that they continue to be very tired once they get home. Please rest assured that we are continuing our gradual build-up of the timetable and are here to gently and warmly support the children. They are doing ever so well and we are so very proud of each and every one of them. Enjoy a lovely rest and we shall very much look forward to beginning a new week on Monday.
With best wishes,