I hope that you have all had a lovely summer break, in spite of the disappointing weather, and that you are all feeling refreshed and relaxed! The children have all had a great start to the new term and have impressed me with their enthusiasm and their attitudes!
I hope that the following information about the routines and expectations of the class will be useful to you. Although some of you are familiar with what to expect, some things will be slightly different and we have welcomed some new members to the class – Molly, who joins us in Year 3, as well as the children in Year 2. I hope that the transition from the play based environment of Class 1 to the slightly more formal style of working in Class 2 will not be too much of a shock to the system!
This year our class is evenly balanced with 11 Year 3 children and 11 Year 2 children. Once again, I will be assisted in the classroom full-time by Miss Young, and on Tuesdays we will be joined by Miss Simpson who is a work placement student. I will be having non-contact time for Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) on Thursday afternoons. On these afternoons the class will be taught by Mrs Lupton and Miss Young.
We open the class doors at 8.40am and parents are welcome to drop their children off any time between then and 8.55am when school officially starts. You are very welcome to come into the classroom to help your children get settled for the day, but you will probably find that they quickly become independent at this.
Last year we trialled a new spelling system for first thing in the mornings which we found to be effective and so we intend to continue with this again this year. Once they have arrived children should sit in their morning places where they will find a short list of commonly misspelt high frequency words to practise in their morning spellings book. After they have completed this they may have some corrections to do in their Literacy books from the previous day. If this is the case, their books will be out on the table for them. If not they should read their reading books and they may chat quietly. During this time, I sometimes hear children read but I am always available for any queries or questions at this time.
Following register, we all go off into our different phonics groups until 9.30am when our numeracy hour begins. This is followed by break when the children may, if they wish, buy snack. After break we begin our literacy hour at 10.50am which takes us through to lunch.
The afternoon sessions vary depending on the activities. PE and ICT are timetabled due to resources. We have PE on Mondays and Fridays when it is our turn for Rowan, although we recommend that PE kit is in school at all times so that we can take advantage of the good weather when we have it and so that the children have something to change into if the need arises. Afternoon break is at 2.00- 2.15pm.
During the second session of Monday afternoon, Mr Bulmer and I swap for a lesson – I go up to Class 3 to teach them French and Mr Bulmer comes down to Class 2 to teach PE.
We have whole school assemblies on Monday, (Singing), and Friday which is Celebration assembly with Mrs Harrison.
The Creative Curriculum
Our context for learning this term is India. In Class 2 our focus for each subject area will be as follows:
- Art: patterns of natural materials, repeating patterns, Rangoli patterns;
- Computing: creating pictures and animations on screen using the Scratch coding resource;
- D and T: printing, fabric printing;
- Geography: world maps, (naming the 7 continents and 5 oceans), UK maps, comparisons between India and the UK, using aerial photos, making maps of India including key physical and human features;
- Music: exploring long and short sounds, singing and percussion;
- PSHE: tea – tasting a range of teas, finding out where tea comes from, case studies of Fairtrade tea producers and the impact of Fairtrade on their lives;
- PE: football with Rowan on Fridays, rounders, gymnastics and Indian dance;
- RE: a study of Sikhism and Hinduism and a celebration of Harvest, Diwali and Christmas;
- Science: the meanings of living and non-living, Indian animals, animal classification, animal diets, food chains and habitats;
- Phonics – all children will have a daily phonics session of 20 minutes. This is a rigorous and systematic programme which is designed to support children’s reading and spelling. There are 6 different phases of phonics and children are grouped accordingly as they move through the phases at a pace which is appropriate for them as individuals. This year I will be teaching the Year 2 children for phonics and Miss Young will be teaching the post phonics spelling programme to Year 3. All spellings for weekly tests will be linked to the work done in these sessions.
- Reading – although phonics is a key part of learning to read it is also important that children should apply their skills through shared reading as a class and through paired reading with an adult. In Class 2 we aim to listen to every child read at least once a week, though ideally more often for the younger children. We are very grateful for your support in listening to your children read regularly at home. Little and often is the best way to help your child progress. Children can change their books independently each morning if they have read them at home. In school we have very detailed assessment records of each child’s reading progress across a range of reading skills. This helps us decide when it is appropriate for a child to move up a level. It is commonly accepted that children should be reading with at least 90% accuracy before they do so. This enables them to develop comprehension and inference skills more thoroughly.
- English and Maths – we have a daily literacy hour and a daily numeracy hour. For your information below is an overview of topics to be covered:
Throughout these units children will consolidate their sentence writing skills, with a focus on punctuation, compound sentences and descriptive phrases and a huge emphasis on spelling in line with the demands of the current curriculum!
Years 2 and 3
Reading – Children will bring home their reading book and reading diary every day and I would encourage you to hear your children read as much as is possible, talking about the story and characters as well. Reading at home will be rewarded with stickers on Friday mornings.
Spellings – all children will be given weekly spellings to learn on Mondays. We encourage children to practise spellings every day using the Look, Cover, Write, Check method. On Fridays we will test children on their spellings and if they achieve full marks they will be awarded a Super Speller certificate in assembly. Children in Year 3 will also be asked to give the definition of one of the words and put another into a sentence which makes sense. In Year 3 there is a statutory spelling list which children have to learn in addition to phonics linked words. We have decided to add these on to weekly spellings, 2 or 3 at a time, and these are marked in red. At intervals throughout the year we will give sets of these words as revision. The full list of Y3 spellings is available on the school website. There is a similar list of common exception words for Year 2.
Numeracy – all children will be given a weekly numeracy task on Mondays to be completed and returned on Wednesdays if possible, but if not by Friday.
Literacy homework – a weekly literacy task will be given out on Wednesdays to be returned on Fridays.
Times tables – Year 3 will continue to bring home weekly times tables to learn. This year the tests on Fridays will be a little more challenging as we will be giving the children some verbal questions to answer as well, all of which will be sent home for you to practise with your child. This will help children to develop their understanding of mathematical vocabulary which is increasingly important as they progress through school. We will ease Year 2 into tables a little bit later in the year when we feel that they are ready! Times tables will be given out on Mondays. Children should bring their times tables’ books to school on Friday mornings for a test.
I strongly believe that at this stage homework should not be too difficult or challenging, but should simply provide an opportunity to consolidate skills learnt in school as well as establish a good homework ethic for later. If homework presents any problems at all, please do let me know.
Going for Gold Targets
During the course of this half term, we will be sending home your child’s Going for Gold targets. As mentioned in Mrs Harrison’s letter last week, we will be focussing on end of year expectations which are difficult for children to achieve. It is likely that this will involve more spelling!
Year 3 – Residential Visit
During the summer term, we organise a residential visit for the KS2 children. This may be an outdoor adventure activity week or it may be a cultural visit to a city. This is, of course, in no way a compulsory visit and suitable arrangements will be made for any child not taking part. Once we have more information about the visit we will let parents know at the earliest possible time.
As you know we like to take advantage of the school field as much as possible throughout the school year, including in the depths of winter! For this reason we ask that children do bring a warm and waterproof coat to school as autumn approaches. As the field gets muddier, children must have a pair of spare trousers, preferably waterproof, and wellies to change into at playtimes or they will not be allowed on to the field.
As you can imagine hearing all the children read is very time consuming. Any offers of help with this would be very much appreciated!
I am always available for a chat at the beginning and end of the school day, so please do not hesitate to come and see me if you have any queries or concerns, or even if you would just like to know how the day has been. If necessary, an appointment can be made to discuss anything more confidential or simply for a lengthier discussion.
Thank you once again for your perseverance in reading to the end of this very long letter! I hope the information contained in it is useful but if there is anything else you would like to know just ask!
We have had a great start to the school year and I am really looking forward to teaching your children, getting to know them better and watching them flourish!