Reception w/b 4th December
Date: 8th Dec 2023 @ 8:30pm
It has been a week full of Christmas cheer in Reception! The festive season is inspiring so many exciting opportunities for play, learning and fun.
Phonics continues with success, a familiar routine to which the children respond so very well. After phonics, when the groups meet together on the carpet once again, all of the children are always so keen to share what they have learnt in their group which is always such a pleasure to observe. Next week, it shall be our Read Write Inc. assessment checkpoint. I shall, of course, inform you of your child’s sound knowledge and reading level after these assessments. As I completed early assessments at the beginning of Week 4, please do not worry if your child has not moved this time; I shall complete early assessments again in Spring 1 if necessary. I shall also complete some name writing assessments as a progress check for name writing and pencil grip.
In maths, we have been exploring composition by focusing on the concept of ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’. By investigating our own bodies and familiar toys, we have explored the fact whole things are often made up of smaller parts and that a whole is, therefore, bigger than its parts. For example, a trunk is a part, an elephant is the whole. A stem is a part, the apple is the whole. Key language in this area can be tricky; clarity around a ‘whole’ and how it is different from a ‘hole’ needed to be made explicit, using gesture to support this. We have then started to look at a Part-Whole Model, exploring the parts that can be made from the whole Numberblocks. For example, ‘2 is a part, 3 is a part, the whole is 5’. This is helping us to build firm foundations for later calculation strategies and develop fluency in knowledge of number bonds. One particular Numberblocks episode supports this concept: ‘The Whole of Me’. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08dr1l3/numberblocks-series-1-the-whole-of-me
On Monday morning, we were most excited to discover a new festive friend in our classroom, along with a present and letter under our Christmas tree. The letter revealed that Father Christmas has sent one of his new elves to our class to learn from the children as he has heard how kind our class is. The elf plans to bring us a new Christmas book each day and set an ‘elf challenge’ each day. On the first day, our challenge was to name the elf! In provision time, the children wrote their suggestions on slips of paper and popped them into a box. The elf chose the name ‘Jingle’ from the box. Throughout the week, the other four challenges have been: to use nature to create a festive friend for Jingle, to create an elf village in the construction area, to read a Christmas book to one of the Christmas ‘reading buddies’ and, finally, to create the longest paper chain we possibly could, working together as a team. We have also thoroughly enjoyed reading each new Christmas/winter story that Jingle brings and are already looking forward to next week’s stories and challenges. We have also been opening the Advent calendars each day, using lots of mathematical language during this discussion.
One of the stories was ‘Jack Frost’; this prompted discussion about winter and seasonal change. Many children also chose to create winter scenes at the creation station and these look beautiful on display. It has been superb to see the children thinking carefully about colours to carefully blend the sky from dark to light. The children discovered that they could mix the blue paint with white paint to gradually make a lighter blue.
Our remaining morning inputs have aimed to inspire lots of independent writing in the provision. A popular carpet session involved some role play from Mrs McAree and Miss Witham in the home corner, pretending to be Grandma and Grandad writing their Christmas dinner shopping list. The children helped us to use Fred Fingers to write the items on our list. Subsequently, many children were keen to write their own shopping lists in the home corner. The Christmas post office has also been very popular, with the post box being full to the brim with messages to Reception friends, school staff, Father Christmas and Jingle the elf. We just love to see all of this writing for pleasure in Reception. Our adult led task has also had an assessment purpose, as we challenged the children to independently write some Christmas CVC words. All children were so keen to have their turn at completing this task and they have all amazed us. The use of Fred Fingers to segment and the careful letter formation that we have observed is just wonderful. This writing is now proudly on display. Next week, we shall be writing letters to Father Christmas…I wonder if we can persuade him to visit our school?
At the beginning of the week, we thoroughly enjoyed watching the Key Stage 1 Nativity. It was wonderful to see those familiar faces retelling a story we now know so well but from a new perspective. Well done Key Stage 1.
This clear understanding of the Nativity has really helped us in our RE sessions. This week’s lesson began with a story all about the arrival of a new baby in the Bunn family, an Usborne first experiences story. We discussed the needs of new babies and thought about babies we may have in our families and how their arrival changed the life of people around them. We looked at photographs of modern baby clothes and paintings of what babies would have worn in Jesus’ time. We talked about the differences; were we wrapped in swaddling bands and laid in a manger? Why not? However, one big similarity is that all babies change the world and life of people around them and so did Jesus. Jesus was a special baby. At Christmas Christians remember Jesus’ birthday.
We have been fascinated by one of our non-fiction library books: Christmas in Grandma’s Day. In this book, Jennifer, who was born in 1938, writes all about what Christmas was like when she was young. We thoroughly enjoyed noticing similarities, particularly the page where Jennifer includes photographs of her Reception nativity performance, in which she wears her angel costume made from a bedsheet and also sings ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. We were keen to learn all about the toys that were popular at the time and were fascinated by the tradition of making a Christmas pudding and putting coins inside. Upon reaching the page where Jennifer explains that Christmas decorations were often made rather than bought, the children were keen to make their own paper decorations for our classroom. We learnt how to make paper snowflakes and paper chains.
Forest School was inspired by the story ‘Stick Man’. We used clay, sticks, string and natural decorations to create stick friends and snowmen, just like in the illustrations.
PE was an absolutely joyous experience this week as we each had a balloon! As balloons fall more slowly to the ground than balls, they are wonderful for practising throwing and catching skills. During the lesson we: played ‘Simon Says’, placing the balloon on different body parts; practised rolling the balloon up and down our bodies and around our bodies without dropping it; practised patting the balloon to keep it off of the ground for as long as possible; played ‘basketballoon’ by throwing the balloon and then creating a ‘basket’ with our arms in which to catch the balloon. The children then worked ever so well with their partners to play pat the balloon and ‘basketballoon’. It was such fun!
Morning activities continue with success and this week’s challenges were: repeating Christmas patterns; Christmas Orchard Tree Games (Elf Lotto and Snowman Pairs); Christmas stencils; threading beads onto pipe cleaners to create candy canes; dough disco with gingerbread playdough.
It has been a busy but wonderful week with our Reception superstars.
I am aware that it is a very busy time of year with lots to remember. I hope that this breakdown of the last days of term will be helpful. Do get in touch if you think that something may be missing/incorrect (although I hope it isn’t!).
- Monday 11th December – full uniform (normal school day!)
- Tuesday 12th December – New Vic Theatre trip – full uniform (more information in the letter). No Forest School as a result.
- Wednesday 13th December – PE day
- Thursday 14th December – full uniform (normal school day!)
- Friday 15th December – Reception Christmas party morning (children can wear own clothes/party clothes/festive clothes etc.)
- Monday 18th December – full uniform (normal school day!)
- Tuesday 19th December – Christmas lunch day (children can wear a Christmas jumper with their uniform if they wish). It is also our Forest School day.
- Wednesday 20th December – PE day. This is the final day of term for the children.
- Monday 8th January – return to school.
We also know that the children are beginning to feel very tired and perhaps even a bit under the weather. Please rest assured that we all remain mindful of this and shall maintain a gentle approach with plenty of ‘rest time’ opportunities available until the end of term!
I hope that it is a restful weekend for you all. I shall look forward to welcoming the children back to school on Monday for many more exciting experiences.
With best wishes,