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Tuesday 21st April 2020

Good morning everybody,


Another beautiful day ahead.  I wonder what you will get up to in your spare time.  We never got the pool up yesterday at the Mason household because my husband got a little distracted with disassembling one of our greenhouses, re-levelling it and then putting it back together again!   So poor Pippa had to go without the pool yesterday but has been promised that today is the day when it is coming out.  This is quite a big affair as it is a fair size and needs lots of cleaning and and poles assembling to make it rigid and upright.  It is meant to be very hot for the next few days and you can have a lot of fun in the garden with water if your parents can cope with this.  In the holidays, I did put on a few ideas for making a water wall in your own back garden, using similar principles to the ones used for our class water wall - have a look at week 3, Friday 10th April to see photos of our class playing with our water wall at school and ideas for water play at home.


Thank you to the families who got in touch yesterday/Sunday.  I will send everyone a reply.  We have new photos in the Gallery of lots of different things that children have been up to in their work and play.  We also have two new stories in our story gallery.  Take a look to find out about the adventures of the caveman and his sidekick, written and illustrated by Hugo, and also the story of Simba the Cub written by Nicole.  Keep those stories coming - it doesn't matter how long or short they are, whether they have pictures or not or are mainly pictures - we just love them in Class 1. 

Parents, there are more and more resources being released on-line specifically for home-schooling during the foreseeable future.  I have started to wade through them starting with the Government's online list.  I started to check out some of the English ones and have found a couple that you might be interested in looking at and also which I will probably dip in and out of too.  Have a look at the Read Write Inc site.  This scheme very heavily influenced the Letters and Sounds programme that we follow at school and you will see it uses the letter pictures that our children use at school.  Everyday, for 24 hours, you can access teaching videos that teach phonics the Read Write Inc way.  Here a teacher takes over the whole process for you.  They split their phonics teaching into 2 or 3 areas: speed sounds, word time and spelling.  The set 1 speed sounds really take you right back to the beginning but after a 2 week holiday, this could be just what your child needs to build confidence.    The word time and spelling times takes the children through at a very slow, but thorough pace, of how to segement and blend letters for reading and writing.  If you feel that your child would cope better with practising digraphs from the off-set, look at the set 2 sounds but just be aware that some of the digraphs will be new to them.  The day 1 practise sound was "ou" yesterday as in the word out, whereas we have only learnt "ow".  This does not matter though as by the end of the session they will definitely be familiar with the new digraph.    ReadWrite Inc introduce their vowel digraphs in a slightly different order to Letters and Sounds but don't let that put you off.  It would be good for you as parents to watch so that you can see the methods of blending and segmenting very clearly explained and demonstrated.
The government also talked about a new learning platform that they launched yesterday called the Oak National Academy.  Again, I have started to look through this (it is vast) and had a little look at the maths section.  This again has lots of teaching videos which will be of a great help to us.  We have been following the White Rose maths lessons so far during home learning which really do follow the principles of Early Years education of learning through play and have been lots of fun with the children practising mathematical concepts without even realising it.  However, there are times when you have to specifically teach and practise mathematical concepts with children and these videos look like they do just that.  So I'm going to add the Oak National Academy daily video to go along with the White Rose maths on our daily plan to start with.  Do what you can manage, the lesson is just under 15 minutes.  If you can't manage it, don't do it but I think it's something that the children will engage with, succeed with and learn from.  You could pop it in at a completely different time from the Supertato maths or lump it altogether - it's up to you.  It might seem a little slow and repetitive but the teachers have to reach as many children as possible and I expect it will speed up a bit as they begin to repeat previous teaching points.  See what you think.
Sorry to bombard you with all this but as it's fresh in my mind, I thought I would communicate it over to you.  I also know that many of you are anxious to do the best by your children and are uncertain of how you could go about doing this.  These videos might answer some of your questions or give you some food for thought.  You could just look at the new stuff in the evening without the children if time is tight and take it from there.

Writing - This is the piece of work I would like everybody to try their hardest to complete this week and send over to me by the weekend

Think about what you have been doing at home in the last two weeks.  What have you really enjoyed?  It might have been something you have done indoors, it might have been something you have enjoyed in the garden on a sunny day or something you've seen on a walk. It might have been on Easter day. Talk about different things with your adult.   Now decide which of these things you would like to tell me about.  First draw a picture of the thing you enjoyed and then with your adult decide what you are going to write.  Make sure you have your sound mat and tricky word mats to help you.  Decide on what you are going to write and say the sentence a couple of times with your adult.  Then have a go at writing it down one word at a time.  Sound out each word as you go, checking with your sound and word sheets if you're not sure.  Adults can help you to sound out words if you get stuck but we are all getting really good at doing this.  Read what you have written so far after each word (with your adult if you need to) so you know what you need to write next. (Adults, we are going with how the children spell the words phonetically based on what they have learnt so far so it doesn't matter if it's not the correct spelling, just phonetically correct - the correct sounds.  If it is a tricky word they have been practising then you can ask them to find it on their word sheet which most can do with prompting.  If they are trying to spell a long word, break it down into syllables and concentrate on one syllable at a time.  If they tell you they can't do it, give them a big smile, tell them they can and say what's the first sound, and the next, write it down etc. For some of you, this will be a slow word by word process so keep it short and sweet - do what your child can cope with.  If your child is more confident, encourage them to go for it but to keep re-reading.  Remember, they've had a two week break which can sometimes put a spanner in the works, so keep smiling - leave it for the time being and go back at another time if things are getting a bit stressy.  We are aiming for the children to see themselves as writers so give as much support as they need to keep things feeling good, comfortable and happy for them.  

If after all that you can mention a full-stop at the end - fantastic!)

Number Time

Try day number 2 of the Supertato maths activities.

Have a look at the first maths Oak Academy lesson.

Farms - Sheep and Lambs

Farms come in all shapes and sizes; some keep and raise animals and some grow plants.  At the moment in Spring, there are many lambs being born and you can sometimes see them in fields.  There are many farms which only keep sheep and they can be small farms which keep only a few or very large farms which keep hundreds.  I've found a set of 4 videos which show lambing time on a farm in Scotland.  They are short 4 minute videos which show real sheep and lambs and all the different things the farmers have to do each day and night to look after them.  Watch one every day with your adult to find out lots of different things about raising lambs.  Also attached is part of a video made especially for children all about how sheep are sheared so that their fleeces can be used for wool - have a watch of that too.

Have a go at making a farm animal for your scrap book.  There are a few different ones to choose from - you need to cut out all the pieces and stick them together to make them look like the animal.   You can do as many (or as few) as you like.  Happy cutting and sticking!