The Elves and the Shoemaker-Part One

Garnet Class were very lucky this week, we had a surprise visit from an Elf.

First we noticed some footsteps and a tiny secret door. We weren’t quite sure who had made the footprints and the children had some very different ideas.

It is Gingerbread Man – Arya

Its the tiny Elf, Santa sent him – Isaac

Its a magic fairy – Derryn

Later on we went upstairs to the studio where we were shocked to find something hiding under a sheet.


We would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Elf for telling the story in such an interactive way, we really enjoyed it and can’t wait until we see you again when we go to the Crucible Theatre.


We learn a new poem every week in Reception Class because research shows that that children who know eight nursery rhymes by heart before they are five go on to become more able readers by the time they are eight.

Here are some of the poems we have learned already this year.

This week was National Nursery Rhyme Week and we have been carrying out lots of learning around different nursery rhymes to further develop children’s ability to recall poems and rhymes.

We used lots of different nursery rhymes to learn about subtraction and talked about what happens to the total amount when we take some away. We also learned about 1 less than.


We used musical instruments to tell nursery rhymes thinking very carefully about which actions the different instruments could represent.

We ordered the lines in the rhymes and focussed on the rhyming words.

Can you remember what a rhyming word is?

We listened to the sounds in the words and looked at letter patterns to help us to identify when the ending of words was the same. We then made some rhyming strings  where we thought of other words which rhyme.


We also practiced finding rhyming words on Phonics Play.


When we went outdoors we found an accident scene, some children used chalk to write down what they thought had happened.


We have had a fabulous week exploring rhymes we already know and learning new ones. Next week we will be learning some Number rhymes which will help us to write our numbers.

Reading at Home

This week we held an information session where parents were invited into school to find out how we teach children to read in school and how they can teach their child to read at home.

Miss Deighton and Miss Boyd would like to say a HUGE thankyou to all those who attended, we had lots of fun learning about phonics and playing games with the children. Each family who came received a special Reading Bag full of goodies to take home. There was information to help with reading at home, some brand new reading books to keep at home, a phoneme strip to keep and other goodies. All children in Reception also received their Booktime book from the Book Trust.


During the session we talked about a few different aspects to reading:

Why we need to read? 

  • Better life chances
  • Makes life easier
  • Helps with all subjects in school
  • Because you enjoy it
  • Research shows that children who read for pleasure do better at school

Different types of reading

  • Reading storybooks and information books for enjoyment and bedtime stories
  • Reading school book band books for learning

What are Book Band Books? 

  • Levelled books designed to help support children learn to read
  • Emphasis is on the children reading
  • Adult supports the reading
  • Some are decodable phonics readers, some are not
  • The adult needs to:Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 21.14.04

We explained the different types of reading sessions we carry out in school, these include; Storytime, Booktalk and Guided Reading sessions as a whole class and in smaller groups, reading one to one with children, sharing books at a deeper level during Literacy sessions and having them freely available as part of our Continuous Provision.

What about Storytime books? 

  • Books for enjoyment at any age
  • Doesn’t have to be a story, could be any book
  • Emphasis is on the adult reading
  • Child supports the reading and talks about the pictures
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We talked about what to do if your child won’t read with you because its not because they can’t read and its not because they can’t sit still. Some ideas for motivating your child are:

1.You have to make it exciting, be interested and impressed by whatever your child is reading

2.Make it funny- reinvent stories and find funny books to share.

3.Think outside the box- try ebooks, comics, letters and even chalk letters outside.

4.Read for a purpose and make it interesting.

5.Copy and collect- link reading to interests, such as Peppa Pig, dinosaurs and recommendations from other parents/ children.

We also talked about what to do if you as a parent find reading more difficult:

–1. Have a go- the children will enjoy their time with you and appreciate your efforts.

2. –Look at a book yourself before looking at it with the children so there are no surprises.

–3. Work out difficult words together.

–4. Come and ask in school if you’re struggling. We are more than happy to help. 

We talked about the positive emotional impacts of simply sitting and sharing abook with your child where the emphasis is on the adult leading of reading the book whilst discussing what happened, the characters and the setting. We emphasised the importance of children understanding what they have had read to them as this will help them to realise that print holds meaning and will aid them when they begin to read books independently.

Some parents were unsure how to pronounce the sounds correctly and so were teaching them the letter names. Although the children do need to learn letter names this does not help them to read, please watch the video below to hear the correct pronunciation.

We modelled reading a story to a child, making it interesting and fun to gain their attention and also how we would scaffold them as they are learning to read independently. Ensuring that the children were encouraged to identify and attempt to blend the sounds they know and reading the words that would be unfamiliar for them. The video below gives some exmples of how to help your child to blend sounds to read.

We showed parents the some phonics sites which we find useful in school – Every child can have free access to Phonics Play which is used daily in the classroom and supports Phonics learning in school. If you need the login details please speak to a member of staff in class.

Also,  please follow the link below to Oxford Owl. This site has lots of useful information about Phonics and how to support your childs reading at home.

It is quick and simple to make a free acount with the site then you can access lots of  free books to read with your child online. If you need any support making an account please talk to a member of staff in school who will guide you through the process.



Anti Bullying Week

This week we have been learning about how to keep ourselves safe from Bullies.

First we talked about what a bully might do.

Luke -Kick you.

Maddie – Pull your hair fight hard.

Ava – They could be nipping you.

Markai – They might use swearing words and call you names like stupid idiot.

Alfie – They could be stealing all your things, like your bear ears.

Joseph – They might be hurting you, like punching in the face.

We then talked about how often this would need to happen for the person to be a bully.

Caleb – It would have to be every day, like my brother, he must be a bully because he hurts me every day.

Layla – If they do it one time that’s because they are being unkind.

Arya – Bullies be unkind.

Next we talked about how we could stop the bullies.

Lucas – We can just ignor them or walk away to tell a grown up.

Isaac – We could say, “Stop”.

Effie – Or say, “No”.

Derryn – We can make them laugh, tell them a joke.

Florence – We can play with them.

Bentley – We not allowed to hit them because we will get into trouble, we have to tell a teacher.

We decided to make a book to share with everyone so that they know what to do if they come across a bully.

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FS2 Phonics

We have started daily Phonics sessions with the children.

We have started teaching the children the sounds that the letters make so they are able to recognise them both in books and around every environment they go in. We will also expect them to start using them in their own writing.

This video will help you know the exact sounds which each letter makes. It is important that these pure sounds are used. Listen in particular to n, l and m.

We use the Jolly Phonics actions to support the children while they are learning the sounds each letter makes. We sing the song and do the action to make it easier for the children to remember them.

When we teach the letters and their sounds we teach them in an order which makes it easier to make words. First the children will learn s, a, t, p, i, n. Then they learn m, d, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss. These are all the letters and sounds they will learn in Phase 2.

Although it is important for the children to know the sounds the letters make it is also just as important for the children to be able to blend sounds together to make words. This means when you say to them the sounds they are able to make them into the word. At first the children will do this when they just hear the sounds. Children are expected to to be able to do this when they start Reception (FS2). As they get more confident with the letters they are expected to be able to read the letters themselves and blend them into words.

Examples of this:

c– a– t  is cat                  s–a–t  is sat

p–i–n  is pin                    g–o–t  is got

We also teach the children to read alien words which they are able to blend but make no sense.

Examples of these are:

s–e–c is sec                    h–i–b  is hib

d– u–p  is dup               l– e– c  is lec

Once the children are able to read words with Phase 2 sounds and also sound out to spell them we move onto Phase 3 letters and sounds, which include vowel digraphs (two letters, one sound). Children should be secure in reading and writing with Phase 3 sounds at the end of Reception (FS2)

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Picture taken from

What can you do to help the learning at home?

  • Complete the Phonics homework each week. This will tell you which letters and sounds the children have been learning that week.
  • Play the games on which will help your child with their phonics skills. Good games to practise blending are Buried Treasure, Obb and Bob and Dragon’s Den.
  • Look for letters everywhere and see if your child knows which sound they make. If you see words with the sounds they have learnt ask your child to help you read it. You can do this when you’re reading school reading books but also sometimes in other books you read together. Your child won’t be able to read the whole book but they can begin to help you.

Please ask in school if you would like more help or there is anything you’re not sure about. We’re happy to help 🙂 

Healthy Schools Week

Before the holidays the Whole School were learning about how to stay fit, safe and healthy.

First Mrs Murch came and introduced us to Pantasaurus, he is a very special dinosaur who knows all about keeping himself safe. He taught us about good and bad touch and what to do if we feel uncomfortable or unsafe when someone touches us.

Can you remember what a good touch feels like?

Can you tell your grown up what a bad touch is? Can you remember where we should never be touched unless we are poorly?

Can you remember what he told us we should do if we get a funny feeling in our tummy?

Can you remember the song we learned to remind us? Parents can follow the link below for further information about what the children were taught.


We also talked about how to keep ourselves safe on the internet, we didn’t realise that when we talk to someone in a game that it is a real person.

We learned that we need to be careful not to tell strangers on the internet any information about ourselves.

We learned how to use hector if we see anything on a computer which we don’t like and know to tell a grown up in school.

Next we talked about how we needed to eat a balanced diet to be healthy. We decided to make a Vegetable Stir Fry to share with our friends. Everyone who wanted to, helped to prepare the vegetables but we decided that Miss Deighton would do the cooking because no one wanted to get burnt. We sat behind some tape while she was cooking because we didn’t want to get splashed or any hot food to fall on us. Once the vegetables were cooked, we all had a taste.


Can you remember some of the foods which are healthy?

Can you remember the foods which are unhealthy if we eat too much?

What was your favourite vegetable?

Were there any vegetables which you didn’t like?

Next we had the opportunity to get fit, we went to the hall and took part in lots of different exercises. This really made us hot and sweaty, it made us out of breath and made us really thirsty. Do you think exercising is worth the effort?

Yes, because it makes you big and strong – Israel

Yes, it makes your muscles grow like your dad – Markai

Yes, you can run fast as a rocket-Reece

Yes, because then you can grow fit and strong and be healthy, you might get fat if you don’t exercise -Effie

What is your favourite form of exercise?


The next day we talked about how to stop each other from getting poorly. We shared our ideas about why we get ill….

The germs go in your belly and make you sick -Maddie

Sometimes you eat food that makes you sick, when you don’t like it -Alfie

I been poorly when I was coughing so much -Harry

How do we get the germs in our body?

We carried out an experiment, we put glitter in hand sanitiser and pretended it was germs. We put it on our hands and went to do our independent learning. Later Mrs Murch stopped us and we looked around to see where the glitter germs had spread. They were everywhere!

We talked about what we could do to stop the germs from spreading and decided that washing our hands with soap and water is the best way to get remove the germs.

What have we been learning?

How to keep ourselves healthy and safe.

That it is not only the responsibility of adults to keep us healthy, that we can help to keep ourselves healthy and safe too.

Stick Insects and Berber Slinks

When we were reading Handa’s Surprise we saw lots of Animals which sparked off some children’s curiosity about unusual animals.

We realised that we already have some animals in Garnet class which usually live in Africa. We have 3 adult Stick Insects as our class Pets. We take really good care of them;changing their privet branches so that they can eat fresh leaves, spraying them with water so that they don’t get dehydrated and cleaning out their terrarium so that they stay healthy.

We noticed something strange this week, we noticed lots of tiny little creatures in there. When we looked closer we couldn’t believe our eyes, we realised that they were baby Stick Insects! We also found lots more eggs so are looking forward to lots more babies.

Here are some photographs….55B089A6-9D0B-43C8-9334-F6A8280633B1

The eggs are smaller than a pin head.

The babies are black and smaller than a finger nail and the adults are green and as long as a persons fingers.

We decided that we wanted to find out some information about them. We generated some question which we wanted to know the answers to and Miss Deighton read us some Non-Fiction books.

Dylan – What do they eat?

Effie – Where do they live in the wild?

Caleb – How many babies do they have?

Isaac- Does it do camouflage?

Can you remember the answers to these questions?

We really can’t wait until the Stick Insects are a little bit bigger so that we can hold them but in the meantime we have been taking every opportunity we can to hold the adults. They really enjoy crawling on us, they seem to like walking upside down and crawling in our hair.

Mrs George comes into Garnet and Onyx Class every week, she told us that she has some animals at her home which usually live in Africa too, she offered to bring them in for us to look at.11DB8C30-E04E-4174-BD7B-A83C76A9C4FA

Can you remember what they are called?

Thats right, they are Berber Skinks, they are lizards which usually live in North Africa.

We talked to our partners and thought of some questions to ask….

Lucas-Are they meat eaters?

Derryn -How old are they?

Markai – Where do they live at your house?

Isaac – Do they have camouflage?

Florence- Are they a mummy and daddy?

Can you remember the answers to the questions?

We learned lots of new information and also had a chance to touch the Spinks. What did they feel like?


We wanted to learn more so some children went to the library to find some information books about lizards.

We learned that lizards are reptiles and they lay eggs-Caleb

We learned that they have cold blood – Markai

We learned they eat meat and fruit – Maddie

We learned that when you eat everything you are an Omnivore – Lucas

We learned they have scales like snakes – Luke

We learned they like the sun because it’s hot – Mia