I hope that you have all had a lovely summer break and are feeling refreshed and ready for the long autumn term!
I apologise to those of you who have already had much of this information before, but hopefully this letter will be a useful reminder and point of reference for you. There are some new pieces of information, too.
This year our class consists of 14 Year 3 children and 6 Year 2 children. We have also welcomed Edward to the class who joins us in Year 3. This year, I will be assisted in the classroom by Miss Pennington. I will be having non-contact time for Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) on alternate Fridays. On these days the class will be taught by Miss Pennington.
A reminder of a couple of dates for your diary which apply only to Class 2 – our autumn term class assembly will take place on Thursday 17th October at 9.15am and our Christmas play will take place on Thursday 12th December at 2.30pm and 6.30pm with a dress rehearsal on Wednesday 11th December. I will very much appreciate your support at these events with helping your children to learn their lines, providing simple costumes and, of course, being an enthusiastic member of the audience! The same is also true of the Harvest Festival which will take place on Tuesday 8th October at 2.30pm.
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.
Once they have arrived children should:
- Choose their dinner, (if they have not already done so at home);
- Change their reading book if necessary;
- Sit in their morning places and complete their morning spelling practice and morning Maths practice;
- After they have completed this they should read their reading books and they may chat quietly at their tables.
During this time, I sometimes hear children read but I am always available for any queries or questions at this time so please do not hesitate to speak to me!
Following register, we all go off into our different phonics groups until 9.30am when our numeracy hour begins. 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.
During the second session of Monday afternoon, Mr Bulmer and I swap for a lesson – I go up to Class 3 to teach 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.
The Creative Curriculum
Our class context for learning this term is Being Human. In Class 2 our focus for each subject area will be as follows:
- Art: self-portraits, exploring portraits of famous artists and completing our own in a range of materials;
- Computing: creating pictures and animations on screen using the Scratch coding resource;
- D and T: healthy eating - investigating fruit salads, tasting, designing and making;
- Geography: people around the world, learning the names of the 7 continents and 5 oceans, finding out about children who live in each of the continents and creating a short fact file about their home countries, making a folded booklet;
- History: lives of significant individuals – Florence Nightingale, her life and legacy; changes in hospital care;
- Music: exploring sound colours, moods and pictures in music; body songs;
- PSHE: Health and Wellbeing - Healthy lifestyles; keeping safe and growing and changing, (based on SCARF resources from Coram Life Education);
- PE: football with Rowan on Fridays, gymnastics and dance, (skeleton dance, Dem Bones, dancing to keep fit);
- RE: a study of Judaism exploring Jewish homes and traditions and a celebration of Harvest and Christmas;
- Science: the human body – skeleton, joints, muscles, exercise, what makes us human, human growth and the human lifecycle, food groups, teeth and digestion.
- 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. This year I will be teaching the Year 2 children for phonics and Miss Pennington 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 –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 before the texts become too hard.
- 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!
New for this year
As a school we have decided to target handwriting and presentation this year and to place greater emphasis on neatness and taking care. Across the three classes we have agreed a protocol for setting out work neatly and practising handwriting every day. It would be very helpful if you could re-inforce this message at home with homework. Please try to ensure that your children try to take care of their homework books and complete all homework neatly in pencil.
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. Evidence in the reading record of reading at home will be rewarded with stickers on Friday mornings!
Spellings – all children will be given weekly spellings to learn on Fridays for a test on the following Friday. We encourage children to practise spellings every day using the Look, Cover, Write, Check method. 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 and these are marked in red. At intervals throughout the year we will give sets of these words as revision. There is a similar list of common exception words for Year 2. The full list of Y2 and Y3 spellings is available on the school website.
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, based on punctuation and grammar, will be given out on Wednesdays to be returned on Friday.
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.
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.
Just a reminder that all children should have the following items with them in school:
- A water bottle (simple enough to go through the dishwasher every Friday without being damaged!);
- Wellies (named);
- Spare trousers, preferably waterproof (named);
- Two pairs of PE shoes – trainers for outside PE and plimsolls or another pair of trainers for indoor PE (named);
- A named purse or wallet, (if they want to buy snack).
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 an excellent start to the term which bodes well! I am really looking forward to working with the children, cracking the whip and working them hard as well as having lots of fun!