“WHAT DAY IS IT?”
“OH, MY FAVORITE DAY.”
– CHRISTOPHER ROBIN & POOH
Maple class is the Year 1 class in our school. I am Mrs Pavlidou, known to the kids and adults as Mrs P, and I teach 31 amazing, intelligent, full of exploring-energy-children. This year we are not only learning how to read and write but also how to be passionate about learning, have high expectations of ourselves and aiming high. In Maple class, we strongly believe that learning is great fun and if we are to conquer and fulfill our aspirations we need to work tirelessly and always give our best.
This year, 3 days a week I am being supported by Mrs Sansum, the Year 1 teaching assistant.
I hope you enjoy the ride!
''If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.'' Roald Dahl
Leaving the Reception class behind and entering Year 1, it can feel a big step for both children and parents.
We are here to ease the transition and make the experience in Maple class and KS1 a wonderful, memorable experience for the kids and the parents.
While we are introducing some more structure in Maple class we continue the good Early Years practice of active learning, exploring and working outdoors.
Every single child is a unique individual with their own characteristics and temperament, who develops constantly when they have continuous interaction with a stimulating, caring and nurturing learning environment. Your child might have achieved their ELGs at the end of the Reception year, although some Goals may be carried on with them as they move on to Year 1 class. The Maple class teaching team takes great care in developing the whole child and continues to support each child individually in their learning journey to achieve the ELGs.
Like all year groups, Year 1 has government statutory schemes of learning to follow. The National Curriculum was introduced in September 2014, setting out the programmes of study and attainment targets for all four Key Stages.
Our Year 1 curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of our pupils at school and society. Prepares our pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
As a C of E school we offer a daily act of collective worship and teach religious education to our pupils, developing their understanding of the Christian values but also their knowledge and respect of other religions.
We engage our children in challenging experiences through PSHE, Mathematics, Language and Literacy, Science, Topic work and our Foundation subjects, by stimulating their enquiring mind, developing their knowledge, becoming well educated and reaching their full potential; in a supportive, inclusive and nurturing learning environment. While at the heart of our daily school life are our three core values.
The programme of study states that English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-education in English will teach pupils to speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
In Maple class, we recognise how important it is for our pupils to acquire all the necessary skills, so they develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually, and participate fully in the socioeconomic life of our society.
Hence, in Year 1 we have designed a challenging English curriculum, which promotes high standards of language and literacy, developing the pupils' love of literature and reading for pleasure.
Letters and Sounds is a systematic approach for teaching children to read using phonics. It is a six phase teaching programme. Phases 1-4 are covered in Reception class, Phase 5 in Year 1 and phase 6 in Year 2.
Phase One comprises of seven aspects: Environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting.
By the end of phase two the children should be able to read VC and CVC words. They will also learn to read the words 'the, to, go, I and no'. Five sets of letters are introduced - one set per week. The children are taught reading and spelling throughout the week and each session follows the same format. The activities which are used vary and can be adapted. They are multisensory and appeal to different learning styles.
In phase three the children are taught another 25 graphemes. They continue to blend and segment CVC words for reading and spelling. The children will then use this knowledge to blend and segment two syllable words.
By phase four the children are able to represent each 42 phonemes by a grapheme. They will be able to blend and segment CVC words for reading and spelling. Phase 4 is consolidating of children's knowledge. The children are encouraged to practice blending for reading and segmenting for spelling of adjacent consonants. Activities such as 'What's in the box?' can be played in small groups as an independent activity. The children are encouraged to practice reading and writing sentences. These skills are easily transferred into other areas of learning.
In phase five the children will broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes. They will learn alternative pronunciations of graphemes including split digraphs. In June all Year 1 children will be expected to undertake a phonics check. The aim is to check that a child is making progress in phonics. If a child has not reached the expected standard we will ensure that additional support is given to help your child progress in Year 2.
In phase six the children will be able to read hundreds of words automatically. They will be able to decode words quickly and silently. The children's spelling will be phonemically accurate. During this phase the children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
Learning to read is one of the most important things a child will do in his or her life. That’s because we live in a society in which literacy skills are the key to success. When reading ability doesn’t develop overnight, some parents and educators worry they are on the wrong path to instruction.
But choosing the “right” books and the “best” way to teach reading depends on every child. No two individuals will master reading at the same time or pace, and patience and persistence is a must, particularly for kids who struggle with learning difficulties or differences.
Teaching a child to read begins at birth with the reinforcement of pre-literacy skills. Nonetheless, most kids will officially learn to read between the ages of 5 and 7.
In Year 1, the children have a growing knowledge of phonics and build up a range of reading skills. The focus is now on developing their phonics and comprehension skills as they become confident and fluent readers.
In Maple class, we follow the school's reading scheme and the students are engaged with reading texts which are decodable and their reading experiences are further enriched by reading books which are banded according to reading level alongside a 'reading for pleasure' book that parents and older siblings can read to them.
We change the reading books twice a week, on a Tuesday and Friday, while we hear readers daily. The readers who need some extra practice read with an adult five times a week. All the children are given reading diaries where progress is being recorded by teachers and parents too.
As Noella Mackenzie writes in her study, learning to write is quite complex and it is a skill we develop over a lifetime. Many adults find writing at work quite challenging. From that perspective it is quite different to learning to read. Most people can read quite well by about mid primary school and then difficulty is only determined by the content, context and familiarity with the language being used.
Learning to write however, has been likened by one researcher as similar to learning to play a musical instrument, it takes dedication, good teaching and lots and lots of practice to master. So what makes writing so complex you might ask? Firstly it is physical (handwriting or typing) but secondly it requires thinking and planning at lots of different levels simultaneously.
Authorial and secretarial writing
Specifically, writing involves two different groups of skills: authorial and secretarial.
The authorial writing skills are those involving understanding how to create a particular kind of written text (e.g. a business letter or a report), how to construct sentences in an appropriate way for the particular text and how to choose the best words to make your intended message clear to the reader. The secretarial writing dimensions or skills are focussed on spelling, punctuation and either handwriting or keyboarding.
We use quite different writing styles when we write for different purposes and audiences. Bringing the authorial and secretarial skills together is quite demanding for writers. If a writer is concentrating on one or more secretarial skills it is harder for them to think about the authorial skills. Think about it as trying to keep lots of balls in the air at the same time.
In Year 1 we start our formal writing with recounts but then the children learn how to write narratives, letters, instructions and reports. The children work in a supportive learning environment, while they are developing their spelling, grammar, and punctuation which are all important aspects of writing too.
Purpose of study
Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.
A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:
Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.
In Maple class we use CanDoMaths, a mastery approach to mathematics. Mastering maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.
All learners need to believe they can succeed and also believe that their teacher, and parents, believe they can succeed. In Maple class we follow our school's motto "All things are possible for one who believes" and we are inspired to be successful. Adopting a growth mindset is at the heart of a 'Can Do Maths’ approach including the use of 'yet’ and knowing that making mistakes is an essential part of learning.
Teaching that focuses on developing secure and deep understanding, including the use of practical resources and iconic representations supports the learning and memorisation of mathematical concepts. In Maple class we believe that success comes from hard work. We love maths, and that makes our learning experience a great fun!
In Shrivenham school we value Religious Education as a very important subject, which has the great power to influence positively and make a huge difference in our pupils life. While it’s compulsory for all maintained schools to provide Religious Education, it’s not part of the National Curriculum.
In Maple class we recognise how Religious Education equips our pupils with cultural, moral and spiritual knowledge that aids their mental and physical development within the society. We believe that Religious Education prepares the pupils for responsibilities, experiences and opportunities later in life. The pupils form values and beliefs that are reflected in their stance of life; and the way they challenge ideas and questions about their own purpose in the world, while they co-exist with others in a peaceful and respectful environment.
In Maple class we study Christianity and Judaism and we draw our plans from the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education. We start and finish our day with the Lord's Prayer, while we show love and respect for one another, following the example of our Jesus Christ.
Dr Maya Spencer says that spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.
Young children have by nature inquisitive minds; they love to explore certain universal themes like love, compassion, hope, courage, altruism, wisdom and truth. Spiritual health and well-being lies within all our young pupils. It is their right to have their potential recognised and our duty to do so.
Personal spiritual growth doesn't always happen and it cannot be made to happen. It can, however be helped to happen. In Maple class we think that spirituality is about believing in; and we have developed a culture that celebrates our spirituality. Although we cannot teach spirituality, we can, by our teaching, help to open our children up to and give it opportunity to flourish.
In our class we promote our pupils' spirituality by using a range of teaching strategies that allow our pupils to explore by asking questions. We encourage the pupils to use their imagination, as we value them as learning partners. Our lessons promote active and democratic learning and we seize the moment by pausing and celebrating those special spontaneous moments in a lesson. Our philosophy and pedagogy balances values and attitudes with skills and knowledge, giving room for our own spirituality in our teaching and everyday life.
Our Year 1 team are reflective practitioners, who encourage our pupils to take a moment and reflect on their work, their actions, our common values and the relationship we have with other people and nature itself. Our class is a place where a community of spiritual discourse is encouraged and where deeply meaningful activities and events occurred.
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." (Albert Einstein)
The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills.
In Maple class we follow our school homework policy. We change our reading books on Tuesday and Friday and we encourage our pupils to read their reading book for 10 minutes daily.