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The crazy world of Year 1

Happy Mother’s Day to the Year 1 Mummies! I hope that you are enjoying a restful and relaxing day, with cards opened and displayed (you should have a handmade card if it has not already been thrust at you on Friday afternoon, with a daffodil!), Mummy drinks are chilling, choccies are open and being eaten BY MUMMY and you are all dripping in blingy jewellery… or more likely, you were awoken VERY early with a bizarre handmade breakfast that may have been slopped all over your beautiful bedding by accident…oops! Anyway, to all the Mummies, Happy Mother’s Day!

This is now blog number 2 (I hate computers sometimes!!!) so I will try and remember the password and all the other things I had written, before going to see my Mummy! Apologies now if I miss anything…

What have we been learning…?

In Outdoor Learning with Mr Earle, we are developing our Teamwork skills. This is something we ALL need to develop as it is a very important life skill. We shall be developing how to work in small groups; talking nicely to each other, compromising and negotiating roles, working together and not letting one person ‘do it all’ whilst equally not being that person who takes over and leaves others out… This week we tried hard to do all these things whilst completing a scavenger hunt looking for natural things whilst learning to identify trees and plants in our beautiful grounds. Well done Mr Earle…what will Monday bring?


Nearly ALL children have sat a previous Phonics Screening test paper so that I can see how we would perform at this point in the school year. 13/30 children at this point in time would pass (if the 32 pass rate baseline remains the same this year). Many children were close whilst a small number of children need more support. What this has highlighted is that many children, across all four phonics groups, are not always ‘saying what they see’; missing digraphs and sounding out individual letters, or omitting sounds. A lot of children were sounding out individual sounds instead of reading the digraphs and trigraphs too. Once I have all the data I will check for patterns to see if particular phonemes are difficult and we can then work on these. At the moment the children are still learning their phonemes, so I did expect some errors as they have not learnt everything yet. However, it is ESSENTIAL that all children are reading their school reading book a MINIMUM of 3 times (to consolidate these phonemes) and practise their pink phonics book regularly (at least 3 times a week). Elephants and Giraffes have begun to learn split digraphs and apologies for the ‘Rock n’ Roll Dave Grohl’, but this was the only way I could think of supporting the children to remember this difficult set of sounds: Let them regale you in the tale of chatty Miss G and Dave Grohl in the classroom whilst showing you the rock hand action!

Rhinos are now about to start Phase 5 so they will begin learning new ways to spell long vowels like /ai/ /ee/ /igh/ etc. Hippos are continuing to consolidate the tricky Phase 3 digraphs and trigraphs.

Remember there are excellent resources online: Teach Your Monster to Read has three games which supports all phonics learning from Phases 2 to 6.

Rainbow Words:

Whilst it is not a race, we do have three children who have made it to the ‘pot of gold’ and can confidently and consistently read and spell the 100 rainbow words. They received their ‘Rainbow Wizard’ certificates in assembly on Friday and are now working on the next 100 words. We have many children on the ‘holding cloud’ who have demonstrated that they can read and spell these 100 words but are not consistent and so have forgotten words. We also have children who are taking their time to securely read and spell words from each colour strand. Keep going guys!

TIP: Decodable words (words that can be sounded out) should be learnt by using phonemes. For example: ‘Eleven’ should be learnt by saying and chunking the sounds: el-ev-en. Thirteen would be: th-ir-t-ee-n. This supports the children in using their phonetic skills to spell words and builds their confidence using this technique (otherwise they stop attempting words themselves and rely on adults to spell for them).

Words which CANNOT be sounded out (non-decodable words) should be learnt using letter names as the phonemes do not follow the ‘rules’. So, the words ‘to’/’two’ should be taught using letter names: T (tee), O (oa) to. T (tee), W (double ue) O (oa).

Neither way is better or babyish, but each way works for its own sets of words. Otherwise children can begin to break digraphs and trigraphs automatically and then misread these when seen in words: thirteen- t-h-i-r-t-e-e-n “tahirten” I hope this makes sense…


We looked at a tricky and sophisticated method for adding quickly called “Bridging Through Ten.” This involves us ‘borrowing’ from the number to be added so that we make ten first, and then add on what is left. This was very complicated for almost all the children as it relies on us splitting a number, remembering what we have already added and then adding the remainder! We shall revisit this later in the year.

So, we are now looking at ‘big’ numbers…numbers to 50. Whilst lots of children may correctly name a two-digit number, it does not mean that they understand it. For example, when looking at 43, some children may pick up the 3 and 4 numicon tiles to ‘show me 43’. But when we count the numicon, this makes 7. 43, like all two-digit numbers, is made of ‘groups of ten’ (in this case 4) and 3 ‘Ones’ (or units when we were at school, pre-Michael Gove!). So, in Maths this week, we have explored reading and making two-digit numbers.

not 43!!!!

AT HOME: you could support these skills by partitioning (splitting) two-digit numbers into Tens and Ones, and then writing the numbers (with the tens number first!). You could use: straws (elastic banded groups of ten and individual drinking straws), 1p coins, paperclips, Lego bricks, pencils etc…

Here are two games we have been using to recognise and learn our numbers to 50. Remember, BINGO is also a good game to play too!


We have explored different properties of materials including whether they are magnetic or not, whether they are waterproof or not, and whether they are transparent or opaque (see-through or not see-through). Mr Wrinkles even had a bespoke raincoat made to keep him dry…However he now has a Bianca Jackson look about him…

We now need to move on to other subject areas, so we cannot explore more properties… but this week coming will see us become Bridge Experts and engineers in Design Technology. Let’s see if we can design and build a good bridge.


Read, Share, Review:

This is on Tuesday. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. At RSR, you can share your child’s books and THEY can talk to you about their learning. We hope you will enjoy seeing our ever-filling work books!



Thanks to everyone who came to Tuesday’s Bingo. We raised at least £120 I believe and we all had lots of fun. If anyone can donate their time, ideas or skills, we would love to see you at meetings. Parental help is vital for the PTA to work behind the scenes and organise events, raise money and fund projects in school like new playground markings. There is more to it than just attending a disco here and there and we would value committed members.



All children will need to attend school in normal school uniform on Monday 19th March. We will have an early lunch and then depart for the Time and Tide Museum. As a result, it is likely that no hot dinners will be available that day, just school packed lunches or packed lunches from home.


Homework: Due to parental feedback, we are trialling a return of the traditional English and Maths homework sheets. These will go out on Fridays with phonics homework and are due the next week (no later than Thursday). Thanks.


I don’t think there is any more information to share.  PLEASE help to support your child by reading, practising phonics, looking at the website links for games to support what we have been learning at home etc. Thank you! And this week’s randomness word or phrase is….Sonic Highways!

See you Monday!

tent for your blog post here.