Teacher: Miss Fox
Teaching Assistants: Mrs Cheeseborough and Mrs Dibden
Please click for the Ducklings Curriculum: Ducklings Curriculum Letter Spring 2018
Phonics Stay and Play / Learning to Read and Write
As children grow older, they begin to understand more about the sounds of our language. This is an important stage as the children’s ears are tuning in to all the different sounds around them. Playing with sounds and tuning your child’s ears into sounds will develop their ability to hear different sounds which links to reading and writing.
Ways to support your child at home:
- Help your child move to the rhythm of a song or rhyme
- Try breaking down simple words when you are giving instructions or asking questions e.g. ‘Where is the c-a-t cat?’
- Alliteration is a lot of fun to play around with. Your child’s name can be a good place to start, for example, say: ‘Jolly Jessie jumped’.
- Make up nonsense stories together using lots of alliteration
Following on from this is oral blending and segmenting and linking the sounds that can be heard to letters.
In Reception we follow a phonics teaching programme called ‘Letters and Sounds’. It builds on the activities the children have already experienced in their pre-school setting and prepares them for early reading and writing.
We use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions and songs to help the children learn the alphabet letter sounds. The attached sheet shows the actions we use to introduce and practise each new sound. The sounds are not introduced in alphabetical order but in groups that allow children to start to build up simple words. We run a daily phonics session where we use fun activities to learn and reinforce each sound and use them to form words.
We encourage the children to form these letters in a variety of ways such as drawing in the air, drawing in sand and using whiteboards, before writing on paper. We use a cursive script when writing but we also use print around the classroom so that children become familiar with both types.
Whilst learning the sounds, children are encouraged to hear initial sounds in words. They will then progress to hearing more sounds in words, blending and segmenting sounds, which is an important skill for reading and writing.
Blending is a skill for reading. The separate sounds (phonemes) of the word are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. We use ‘sound buttons’ under each letter which are ‘pressed’ as each letter is spoken and then swiped across to merge the sounds. For example the adult would say c-a-t = cat.
Segmenting is a skill for spelling. The whole word is spoken aloud, and then broken up into its separate sounds (phonemes) in order, all through the word. For example, the adult would say cat = c-a-t.
Once children become confident hearing these sounds they start to use magnetic letters or letter cards to link the sounds to letters and build up words (segmenting) or read simple words (blending).
To aid this, we use words that are spelt phonetically such as ‘cat’, ‘dog’ and ‘map’. We also teach ‘wizzy words’. These need to be learnt on sight as they often cannot be sounded out or are used frequently in books e.g. no, the, and. We have attached a sheet of these ‘high frequency words’.
Ways to support your child at home
- Read every day to and with your child
- Collect a variety of pens and pencils and keep them handy to use
- Bring stories to life using different voices
- Let your child read what they would like – books, comics, catalogues
- Leave books around the house for your child to dip into
- Make flash cards
- Make up words together using magnetic letters/fridge magnets
- Make up a story about one of their favourite toys. You write for them, repeating the sentences as you write. When it is complete, they can draw pictures to go with it.
- Look at writing when you are out and about – try and read any of the words or identify any of the letters.
- Talk about the letters they have been learning this week
If your child is reluctant to read or write it is important not to worry; the important thing is to keep on sharing books and talking together. They will often choose to write when they have no real reason to.
Here are some website for games to support the learning of phonics in Reception.
We hope that you have found some of these ideas useful and feel confident to try some out!
National Bookstart Scheme:
This website provides information about the national bookstart scheme and information about sharing books with your child.
Speaking and Listening Skills:
This website provides information for parents and teachers on the importance of speaking and listening skills for young children’s development. Although it is aimed at early communication development, there is lots of useful information and material.
Welcome to Ducklings Class
Father John visits Ducklings
We were lucky to have a wonderful visit from Father John, the priest at St Joseph’s Catholic Church this half term. He came to show us the different Clerical clothing he wears at different times, to tell us about the special ‘toolkit’ (including candles, a Bible etc.) that he uses to do his job and to tell us about the different parts of his job!
Luca was very good at modelling some of the clothes that Father John wears as part of his job, and he was even brave enough to lead us in a prayer with help from Father John!
The Ducklings thought of these questions at the ‘question station’ throughout the day to ask Father John:
Do you read the Bible in bed? – Amelia
Which days of the week do you visit our school? – Harvey
Do you like coming to assemblies? – Luca
Do you work every day – do you get any days off? – Bethany
How many different outfits do you have? – Bradlee
Have you ever seen a tarantula? – Paddy
Do you like to cook? What’s your favourite food?
Do you wear jumpers under your Priest’s clothes? Do you wear t-shirts under your clothes? – Arizona
Do you have a pet? – Luca
Do you like cats? – Paddy
Do you like dogs? – Finlay and Annalise
Have you ever seen a pirate ship? – Yafet
Have you ever seen a crocodile? – Quinn
Father John gave us great answers to all of these questions (the ones related to his role as a Priest and the ones related to his own experiences – such as the crocodile) and we all learned a lot more about the role of the Priest in the church and community! A huge thank you to Father John for leading us through such an enjoyable and interesting visit! (The Ducklings also chose some presents for Father John too – we hope you like your fancy new cookbook!)
Well – what a wonderfully busy half term we have had in Ducklings! We kicked off our new year by writing sentences about our Christmas holiday, illustrating this writing with pictures. We also continued recognising numbers to 20, ordering them and practising reliable counting methods in maths sessions, enjoying finding different objects around the classroom to count!
As our topic ‘Winter’ began, we enjoyed spending time outside wrapped up in our hats, gloves and scarves. Everyone liked taking part in our ‘Understanding the World’ wintery walks and looking for signs of ice and frost, and discussing the changes we could see around us! We enjoyed learning more about our key text ‘Stick Man’ by Julia Donaldson, and used a range of materials to create our own stick people. We then used our Forest School area to act out the story of ‘Stick Man’ alongside others, using story language to help us.
We then moved on to design our own characters using junk modelling materials as we took part in a whole school Big Write based on a music video. We used our phonic sounds to write words and short sentences about the characters we have created, and tried to write with independence.
Everyone enjoyed learning more about symmetry and using paint and art materials to create beautiful symmetrical butterflies. We also used our sorting and counting skills to investigate the question ‘Do all boxes of smarties have the same number of colours in them?’ We sorted together, examined the results, recorded them and decided that not all boxes of smarties have the same numbers of colours in them!
In P.E. lessons we have been learning to dance to a beat, and to copy dance moves in a sequence. We are now very good at performing children’s yoga moves to a range of music and in performing a dance called ‘Gummy Bears’ together. In our music lessons we have been undertaking a ‘Performers’ topic where we looked at videos of live performers and observed which music we liked personally (and why) and which musical instruments the band members used. Although we listened to a wide range, ‘Help’ by ‘The Beatles’ was the Ducklings’ favourite. This led to the children making their own musical instruments using junk modelling materials, and performing with each other to make their own bands!
In R.E. we have learned more about the love that Jesus offers us all, and thought about the love we show our friends and family. We learned more about two key Bible stories this half term – ‘The Disabled Man’ and ‘Feeding the 5000’ and we even had our own ‘Feeding the 5000’ feast in the classroom! We were all excited to host a wonderful visit from Father John, and were all extremely interested in finding out more about the life of a Priest. We also learned lots about how to stay safe around candles during Candlemas. During our Other Faiths week the children were fascinated to learn more about Muslims and how they pray, and particularly enjoyed examining a prayer mat.
We also took part in RSPB school’s bird watch week and enjoyed making lardy balls to feed birds around our outdoor area. We hid the balls in places a predator wouldn’t spot them and watched eagerly as they were eaten by a range of birds. We then kept a chart on the interactive whiteboard to track how many of each kind of bird we saw. Throughout the week we also watched for birds using our own bird charts, built nests for the birds in the forest school, researched the birds that migrated for the winter and those that didn’t, built bird baths for our birds around the outdoor area and read lots of information books about birds! We also researched a range of animals we like using non-fiction texts and Espresso videos and wrote our own animal books!
We have had such a busy second half to the Autumn term here in Ducklings! In maths we have been learning about 2D and 3D shapes. We have been building different models using 3D shapes, trying to build our own nets, using shape names and counting corners and edges. We have also become more confident in recognising numbers to 20 and are going to continue to work on this in the New Year.
In phonics we have been learning a range of new sounds and high frequency words (‘the’, ‘I’, ‘and’) and we are practising these words in our reading and writing. Nearly everyone in our class can now write their first name correctly and we are enjoying signing our pictures and work neatly! We have had a lovely time writing lists of disciples in R.E. lessons, designing Christmas stockings for our friends and family and – of course – writing Christmas cards!
Near the end of the term we all started to get very excited about Advent and Christmas! We have learned lots of new prayers and songs and enjoyed taking part in our own Key Stage 1 Advent Liturgy with Deacon Hugh. We also had fun performing as ‘Disco Stars’ on the stage during our Nativity Production ‘Lights, Camel, Action!’ We enjoyed finding out more about ‘The Christmas Story’ and used a lovely nativity set to retell the story ourselves. On the last day of term we also enjoyed having our very own birthday party for Jesus!
What a fantastic first half term we have had in ducklings! The children settled into the classroom well and have made lots of new friends. In ducklings, we have been busy learning new phonic sounds and trying to blend the sounds together to read words. We have also been practising making marks, writing letters and our own names. We all enjoyed our ‘One Upon a Time’ fortnight topic, where we focused on using story language and retelling traditional tales. We transformed our outdoor role play area into Goldilocks and the Three Bears house and used our acting skills to retell the story!
In maths we have been focusing on numbers, counting, patterns and shapes. We have showed off our counting skills and been practising counting objects and pictures reliably. After lots of work, we are now more confident with reading and writing numbers to 10, and can now start to use these numbers with more independence. We have also been learning the names to more 2D shapes and have been making repeating patterns with objects, colours and shapes.
We all really enjoyed our curriculum week focusing on the serve element of our school visit. We were pleased to welcome visits from CAFOD, Mr Belcher (our school caretaker) and Mr Siebrits (from RNLI), and enjoyed asking questions about their jobs! We found out more about the equipment people need to use in their jobs and how they serve our community. In R.E. lessons, we have also been thinking about the jobs we would like to do when we grow up and how we can help our school community now. We were also excited to welcome Tricia and Harold from the Life Education bus, and we learned more about what is healthy and unhealthy for our bodies!
Everyone has worked very hard this half term and we are all looking forward to the learning adventures that next half term will bring!