Santa Visits St Joseph’s

The children in Reception and Key Stage 1 had a surprise visitor on Friday. After watching ‘The Polar Express’, Santa visited and gave each child a special bell, one that only those who still believe can hear. Even Mr Craig got one, because he still believes of course!

Colour Walk

On Monday we all put on our waterproof clothing and wellies and went for a colour walk around school. We had to find all the colours in the rainbow and then come back to Nursery. The children really enjoyed the activity and worked together in small groups to complete the colour challenge. We found other objects too and brought them back to Nursery including; a feather, a pine cone and a smooth pebble.


Reception fun

This week in Reception we have started to learn our letter sounds and how to write them.  We have enjoyed lots of fun activities to help us to remember the letter sounds s, a, t and p.

First we made sandwiches. Not only did this link to our letter sound, ‘s’, but it also helped us develop our communication and language skills of following instructions and our physical development skills and we had to handle the knife effectively to spread the butter on the bread.  We did a great job and enjoyed our sandwiches and snack time!

Next we decided to link our next letter sound to the Expressive Art and Design and Maths areas of learning as we made apple print pattern pictures with paint!  We enjoyed getting very messy and had lots of fun!

On Wednesday we went on the tyre park and trim trail as we explored the letter  ‘t’.  This helped us to practise our physical skills, such as climbing, balancing and jumping and also made us think critically about the best ways to do things.  The children were very determined and although things may have seemed difficult at first, they never gave up.  I think they have been listening to our motto for Reception.  We encourage the children never to say they can’t do something, instead, we like them to say that they can’t do it, YET!

On Thursday we made pizzas.  Again to develop our listening skills but to also to incorporate our Understanding of the World area of learning.  We talked about how the pizza would change once it had been in the oven and the children had some great answers, such as ‘The cheese will melt and spread out’ and  ‘The dough will go hard and crusty’.  The children really enjoyed making, and eating their pizzas and I think we have a few chefs in the making!

We ended our week on Friday with our Reception Open Morning.  Parents and Grandparents joined us to see how the children had settled into school life and to spend some time with their children in their classroom environment.  We played a game of corners with the letter sounds we had been learning and practised our skipping, jumping, hopping and walking backwards which we had also worked on in PE this week.  We then went into class to play a segmenting and blending game and then the children had some planning time with their special visitors.

What a super busy week we have had this week.  Lots of learning and fun, just the way we like it!

Life Cycles

Our first week back after Easter has brought about our new topic of ‘Life Cycles’.  To link this to our Literacy, we have read the story of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.  We made a story map, with actions, for the story, but then decided to change it in order to become true authors and write our own stories, making them all different and therefore, unique.  We changed the caterpillar to a tadpole and wrote about the journey it goes on before becoming a frog.  We tried to think of some interesting adjectives to describe our frog at the end. I am so impressed by the children’s imaginations, use of vocabulary and hard work in their writing.  I could not be prouder!

We have also linked our Understanding of the World topic to art and maths as we have created repeating pattern caterpillars and symmetrical butterflies.  It was lovely to see the children’s surprised expressions when they opened up their butterflies.  We had great fun!

In Maths this week we have been learning about money, so we have decided to open up our very own shop.  This has enabled the children to practise paying with the correct coins and giving change.

What a busy first week back it has been in Reception!

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This week in Reception the children have enjoyed exploring in the water area.  We have been estimating how many of each different container we could fill using a two litre bottle.  The children made their estimates and then filled the different sized cups and jugs using the bottle of water.  The estimates got better and the children also realised that their estimates would be higher numbers if the containers were small and lower numbers for bigger containers.  The children used lots of good mathematical vocabulary and reasoning skills when doing this task.  Well done Reception!

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Superheroes in Reception

It has been another very busy week in Reception!  On Monday, we started our new topic of ‘Superheroes’.  Our text for this week was ‘Supertato’ by Sue Hendra which tells the story of a super potato, who saves his vegetable friends from an evil pea who has escaped from the freezer.  This story was to be the basis of other activities through the week.

Tuesday, was of course, Shrove Tuesday and so the children worked in groups with Mrs Pearson and Miss Doran to make pancakes.  Firstly, the children learned about why ‘pancake day’ got its name and how this linked to the church’s season of Lent.  A brilliant time was had by all as the children even tried flipping the pancakes and doing a brilliant job and therefor they were rewarded by eating their pancakes topped with Nutella!

Mass followed for the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  The children were impeccably behaved as they listened carefully about learning to be a better person during Lent, and getting into a habit of being good and more like Jesus.  It was a lovely service and has been followed up in class and at home by the sending of Lenten bags.

On Thursday, whilst we were all celebrating World Book Day, and dressed in our amazing costumes, the children received a letter from Supertato himself.  It asked them if they could possibly make their own supertato to protect the vegetables, whilst the real Supertato was away in a different country.  Of course, the children obliged and made their own characters. Don’t they look fantastic?

Also on World Book Day, some of the children designed their own book covers and enjoyed sharing books with their friends. In return for dressing up as a character, many of the children brought in a book for our school library.  What wonderfully generous children we have here at St Joseph’s! Reception also enjoyed a visit from Ms Armstrong who read a story called … and Mrs Seagrove who also came to read our final story of the day, dressed as Mr Bear from ‘Peace at Last’, in her pyjamas and slippers!

The story of ‘Supertato’ also gave two of our boys and idea to make a ‘pea hunt’ using Digimaps to plan their activity.  Dylan and Aidan firstly drew their own map of the school and positioned peas in the different places.  They then asked for a ‘proper’ map to transfer their drawings on to.  I thought this was a fantastic idea and a way of developing our knowledge of our surrounding area as well as developing our positional language skills.  Great work boys and most definitely a job for your classmates next week!

What a first week back!  Full of learning and fun, just the way we like it!

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Pea Hunt

This week in Reception, we followed up Dylan and Aidan’s idea of an evil pea hunt.  The boys marked on their own map where they wanted to hide the peas and wrote labels for the places they had chosen.  We then put the peas in these areas and marked them on the map of our school.

The children were able to identify different places in school when we looked at the map together on the board and were able to predict where they would find the peas.  We then went around the school grounds hunting for the evil peas!  The children had great fun and showed that their map reading skills and positional language are very good too!

We have also been learning about halving in our maths lessons this week.  First we started by halving shapes and the children soon realised that ‘halving’ means splitting something into two parts which are the same, or equal.  We did this with different shaped pieces of paper and play dough shapes.

Later in the week we moved on to halving amounts, using sweets.  The children were given the problem of halving their sweets with a partner.  Some of the children chose to line up their sweets and halve them in the middle, then counting to check they both had the same amount, or an equal share.  Others halved the sweets by sharing; again checking they both had the same amount by counting.  I was very impressed by the children’s use of the vocabulary and understanding of the concept of how to halve amounts.  Using sweets meant it was very important to the children to make sure they got an equal share, especially as they got to eat them if they halved them correctly!

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Grass Surprise!

Well we were in for some surprises this week as we found that the tray of grass in the cupboard, which had been watered, had grown the most!  The children decided that this must have been because the cupboard was warm, so that was something the grass must have needed too.  The grass growing on the window sill, which had been watered, had also grown a little and the children concluded that although this too had light, it only grew a little because we had a lot of rain and dull weather last week.  The children were however correct in their prediction that none of the trays of grass without water would grow.  I am so impressed with our reasoning skills and scientific answers in Reception …and at least we managed to grow some grass for the Billy Goats Gruff!

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff

This week in Reception we have been reading the story ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’.  In the story, the goats wanted to eat the fresh, green grass from across the bridge but were confronted by a nasty, selfish Troll!  The children have produced some lovely writing, using the adjectives they came up with to describe the Troll and have also enjoyed role playing the story together.

As a further link to our story, we decided to grow some fresh, green grass for the goats but decided to investigate what we needed for grass to grow green and healthy.  The children predicted light and water would be needed and together we planned an investigation to find out if they were right.  We decided to put two trays of grass in the cupboard and two on the window sill.  We would then water one of the trays in the cupboard and one of the trays on the window sill, leaving the others without water.  The children predicted that the tray with no light and water would not grow at all and the one on the window sill, that had been watered, would grow the most.

We will observe what happens next week.  I wonder if our predictions will be right?

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Winter Trees

Winter Trees

In Reception, this week, we have been looking at changes in our environment.  Back in Autumn, we enjoyed looking at the trees in our surrounding area and how the leaves had fallen off and were many different colours.

Now we are in Winter, we have noticed that the trees around school are completely bare.  We decided that this could be a focus for some art work for our classroom.  The children noticed that the branches of the trees at the top of the bark were quite thick, but began to get thinner as they went up.  We also talked about how some of the trees were taller or shorter than others and about the different parts of the trees.

We made our pictures using the 2Simple program.  The children needed to be able to select the fill tool to create the background and then change the size of the pen tool to create branches of different widths.

The children then used the spray tool to create a frosted effect on the branches to finish off their pictures.  I hope you will agree they look very effective and that mouse control in Reception is definitely improving!

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