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21.6.13 - Letters to Strumpshaw Fen
This week we have been busy writing letters to Strumpshaw Fen to thank them for our trip. We had such a fantastic time and wanted our guides to know how much we appreciated them. We had to cast our minds back to the letter writing we did back in November. We were really good at remembering the features of a letter such as including the address of where we were writing from, the date, and of course who the letter was to.
We thought about what we had enjoyed at Strumpshaw Fen, and what we had learnt on the trip. We included these details in our letters, along with a massive thank you to the staff at Strumpshaw Fen. Lots of us also wrote that we would like to visit again! We shall be sending all the letters to Strumpshaw Fen and look forward to seeing if we get a reply.
We also wrote a letter to someone else. We were allowed to write to anyone in the world! Some of us chose to write to our friends or family and some of us wrote to our pets. Some of us wrote to famous people and some of us even wrote to our teachers! The results were fantastic, and we really showed off our letter writing skills. We thought about how a letter can be used to pass on information such as, what we liked, what we had been doing and what we would like to do. We also tried to include a question to encourage the person to write back!
Helping at home
- As we have been starting to think about next year, you could write a letter to children in Reception or Year 1 to tell them what to expect in their new class.
- Can you remember how you felt at the beginning of the year? Talk to your family about what you thought it would be like in your new class. Were things as you expected them to be?
- You could write a list of all the things you have loved about being in Year 1 or Year 2.
- You could talk about the things you have found tricky and how you learnt to overcome them.
- Once you have your ideas, you can think about which ones to include in your letter and then, get writing! Don’t forget to include all the features of a letter that we have talked about this week.
Our Trip to Strumpshaw Fen
We had such a wonderful day out at Strumpshaw Fen on Friday and weren’t we all lucky with the weather! RSPB experts Lee, Ciara and Marianne worked with us and trained us to be Wildlife Explorers. We learnt a lot about how to catch creatures effectively without harming them so we could study them before returning them to their habitat. We used different types of kit for each habitat: nets, trays and spoons at the pond; sweep nets and a big, white sheet at the wet, spongy meadow; soft brushes and tubs in the woodland. We also used pots with magnifying lids to look really closely at what we caught. A lot of the things we used can be found around the house so you could be wildlife explorers at home too!
We had to be really good at using our senses to spot different creatures. We used magic listening balls in the woods and the magic made our ears really, really powerful so we could hear sounds that were a long way away. We heard lots of different types of birds. You can tell the difference between birds by their songs which are different. Lee and Ciara encouraged us to look high and low, not just by standing still, but by looking really close to the creatures’ habitats as most of them are really small. We lifted logs safely, looked underneath leaves, looked at tree trunks, searched in the grasses and pond weed.
We were amazed at some of the creatures we found and have learnt lots of new names and ways to tell them apart. Here are some of them: stickleback, black ground beetle, flower bug, dragon fly nymph, damsel fly, water boatman, water snail, wood louse, caddis fly larva.
The children were brilliant enquirers and Lee and Ciara were really impressed. They also behaved impeccably, and were a fabulous advert for Dussindale! Many thanks to all of the parents who helped out, I think they had a pretty good time too!
Helping at home
- Have a look at the Strumpshaw Fen website and take your family on a virtual tour. Find it on Google Maps to see the area from the air.
- Visit another RSPB or Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve and be a Wildlife Explorer. Some places have evening events so you can find out about nocturnal wildlife. You can be a very effective Wildlife Explorer in your own garden or in the woody areas around the Fitzmaurice Pavilion.
- The RSPB website has, unsurprisingly, lots of information about birds! On each page you can hear the call of the bird. Can you find some of the birds we saw or heard on our trip?
- Watch Springwatch on BBC2 or visit the website to find out what creatures are active at the moment. Look for Phillipa Forrester’s Wildlife Challenge - pond dipping and rock pooling.
- Make a bug hotel in your garden. The following websites have good instructions: RSPB, Eden Project, RHS. www.inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html has some AMAZING examples!
- We are going to make some 3D insects at school next week. Please collect materials that we could use, including recycled pots and packaging. Please make sure it is clean! Unfortunately, we are not able to use toilet roll tubes or egg boxes.
17.5.13 Animal Classification
This week we have been continuing to learn about animals in more detail. We made lists of all the animals we could think of and then we wondered about the similarities and differences between them.
We organised them into different groups. This is called classification. We found that animals are either vertebrates (they have a back bone) or invertebrates (they don’t!). And then each of those groups can be split up into smaller groups. We talked about the main ones: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, crustaceans and arachnids.
There are lots more groups but we have learnt about the main, more commonly known ones. We are starting to think about whether they are carnivores (eat meat), herbivores (eat plants) or omnivores (eat both). We have learnt lots of very impressive scientific words this week haven’t we?
Helping at home
Have a look at http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/ and http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/ There is a wealth of information on these websites about different types of animals including fabulous videos.
- Think of an animal and describe it to someone in your family. Try to use as many scientific words as possible. E.g. it is a vertebrate; it is a mammal; it is a carnivore; it lives in the woods; it is small; it has a spine.
- Go to the library and borrow lots of animal books to find out more information.
- Next week we are going to be thinking about food chains – what the animals eat and what eats them. Have a think about different animals’ favourite food. Are they a different animal’s favourite food? We are also going to try to classify our own mysterious island creatures and think of where they might be in their food chain.
- http://www.rspca-education.org.uk/ Where do I live?
We hope to see you at the Summer Fete on Saturday. Give your child the responsibility of paying for their own games. Talk about the coins that they will need and whether or not they will need change. How much change should they expect to get, and what coins could it be?
This week we have been exploring habitats a bit more, using the fabulous BBC website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/habitats We compared some different habitats and talked about the life that we would find there. We have begun to think about how animals are adapted for their environment too.
Please draw a habitat for your island creature (created when we stepped into our story). Think about whether it would need a terrestrial habitat, a marine habitat or a freshwater habitat. You could also begin talking about how your island creature is adapted to their environment as this is something we will be looking at further next week.
Helping at home
•Go to the library and find some books about different habitats
•Try these websites –there are lots!
• The bluebells are out at the moment, go and have a look and investigate a woodland habitat. Blickling Hall woods are usually amazing. They’re sort of ‘round the back’ not actually at the hall. A quick google should find it.
3.5.13 Stepping into a story
This week we have been stepping into a fantastic story! We imagined that we were explorers that had just discovered a new island. The first step was to create our own class island. As a class we used our bodies to create the shape of our island Once we had the shape we froze in position and our teachers drew around us. With our island created the real adventure could begin…
We knew that no humans had ever set foot on this island and the only information we had is from satellite images. By zooming in on the island we discovered many different landscapes including deserts, forests, grassland, mountains, rivers, lakes, caves and lots of volcanoes. Imagine our surprise when we zoomed in even further to discover that our island was full of fantasic creatures!
We spent some time talking about the different creatures that might live on island. Then we drew pictures of our creatures, labelled them and placed them on our map.
We were excited about our creatures and began to talk about the habitat in which they lived. But then disaster struck! The satellite operators noticed some unusal activity taking place on the island…smoke, flames, burning….our island was on FIRE!!
We were worried about our animals and realised that they needed to be rescued. This created a lot of talk about how we could help the animals. How would we get there? What equipment would we need? How would we catch the animals? And where would we take them once we had rescued them from the island.
Our story is still continuing and we can’t wait to step back into the story next week…
Helping at home
- Tell your family about the creature you created. What did it look like? What features did it have?
- You could think about which habitat your creature lives in. What does it need to survive?
- Can you draw a picture of your animal in it’s natural habitat.
- Think and talk about real animals and the habitats they live in.
- Have a look at this BBC website which has information about every type of habitat imaginable! http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/habitats
This week we have been learning how to give really good, clear instructions. We came up with a list of the sorts of things that need instructions: Lego models, board games, recipes, DIY jobs, crafts. In Year 1 we looked at instructions explaining how to clean your teeth and in Year 2 we looked at a recipe for chocolate truffles.
We discovered that instructions all have:
a list of the things you need
a list with numbers or bullet points in the right order
time words to show when things are happening e.g. first, then, next, finally
bossy verbs that tell you what to do e.g. put, spread, cut.
Yesterday we thought about how we could explain how to make
a sandwich to someone who had never made one before. It was
very exciting because we made our own sandwiches in the
classroom! We could choose from jam, Marmite, honey, cheese
or ham as our fillings. We had to think really carefully about each
step. They were delicious! Even more delicious than a normal
sandwich because we made them ourselves!
We thought about the step-by-step instructions and the special
words that would make our instructions more specific e.g. ‘spread’
instead of ‘put,’ ‘slices of bread’ instead of ‘bits,’ ‘slice’ instead of ‘cut.’
We also tried to think of extra words to add more information
e.g. ‘carefully slice.’
Helping at home
- Look around your house for written instructions. Can you find the title and list of things you need? Do the steps have bullet points or numbers? Can you find the bossy verbs?
- Watch Clip 6553 on BBC Learning Zone of a boy making a sandwich. As you watch, pretend that you are giving him instructions. Can you use bossy verbs, interesting words and time words?
- Tell someone at home how to make a sandwich by giving them really clear instructions including a list of what they need. Make sure that your instructions are in the right order!
Treasure Chest Activity 22.3.13
Next week we are intending to do lots of work on time in our maths sessions. As time can be quite a tricky concept for children to understand, it would be useful if you could talk about it over the weekend as a kind of ‘front-loading’ in readiness for next week.
We have already talked about how shadows change according to the time of the day and the position of the sun in the sky. We have tried again this week to chalk round our shadows at different times of the day to see how they change, but the sun really hasn’t been playing ball! Perhaps you could try this at home if we ever get some sun! Some of us have also done lots of work on sequencing days of the week and months of the year.
All children need to tell the time to o’clock and half past; some will manage quarter past and quarter to and some will manage beyond that. The most useful thing is to refer to the clock as often as you can. “Oh, look, the big hand is at the bottom and the little hand half way between the 12 and the 1, it’s half past 12, we really should have lunch!” You can also ask them questions such as, ”If its 11 o’clock now and it takes us two hours to do the shopping, what time will we finish?” As always, little and often is best.
THERE IS A REALLY FAB LIGHT EXHIBITION AT THE HAYWARD GALLERY AT THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE IN LONDON. How we wish we could take the children, but it would be too far and too long a day for a school trip It runs until the 6th May, so if you are in London over the Easter holidays and fancy a trip out, do check it out. The details are here: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/light-show-69759 You do need to purchase tickets before you go as it’s extremely popular. If you do manage to go, please tell us all about it when you get back. It looks like a lovely experience.
Helping at home
• Have a go at some of these websites:
Some children might handle this website:
• An analogue watch is a really useful birthday present for a child of this age. Lots of regular chat about what time it is is really useful, as well as solving real life problems about time.