Welcome to the Leopards' class page!
The adults in the class are Miss Smith, Miss Higson and Miss Smith (1:1)
Below, you'll find a snapshot of a day in the life of the Leopards and some useful bits and pieces to help with any learning at home.
As promised on the homework sheet, here is a video that shows you how we teach the children to form their letters. The video shows the correct size of each letter. Year 2s then learn how to join these letters. Please reinforce these methods at home!
I had a great plan to take the Leopards outside and tell them Traditional Tales around a real fire in the Meadow. I thought this would be a great way of launching our new English topic of Fairy/Traditional Tales but Storm Brendan had other ideas.
So we had to settle for an indoors story time. We made the classroom as dark as possible, the children found little areas of the classroom to curl up in and I gave them torches to hold whilst I told them the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff in as dramatic a way as I possibly could; with sound effects and chances to join in (I was an outstanding troll, if I do say so myself). We talked about how these stories have existed for hundreds of years and were told to entertain in times before iPads and TV. We talked about how they were passed on from person to person by telling them dramatically so they could be remembered. The children then had a go at retelling the same story among themselves and it was clear they enjoyed the experience of storytelling in the dark!
Maths this week has been all about 2D shape names and properties. The children have been using the vocabulary: sides, corners, straight, curvy/curved, long and short to describe the shapes. The shapes they have learnt about are circles, semi circles, triangles, squares, rhombus, rectangles, pentagons, hexagons and octagons.
The children have had great fun this week...folk dancing! The Leopards have learnt a lot about what was available for the 1st Class Passengers on board the Titanic. We therefore had a go at learning the kind of dance the 3rd Class passengers might have done to entertain themselves on the journey. The children partnered up and followed instructions for the country dances. The laughter and buzz from them was gorgeous!
I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas holiday and enjoyed all the fun that it brings!
I have lots of plans for the Leopards this half term and I hope they enjoy themselves - I'm really excited! Miss Keira McPhee is a Schools Direct student who will be working with the Leopards over the next 6 weeks; observing and teaching the children to support her knowledge of KS1 children. The children are already fond of her since her visit before Christmas and so I'm sure will value her time with us.
Twinkly lights, hot chocolate, PJs and The Snowman...what more could you want for a rainy Thursday afternoon on the penultimate day of term!? Having just polished off their Christmas lunches, the children enjoyed some downtime for their rather sleepy Star Party. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the hot chocolate supplies this morning but clearly, the class elf, Jingle, was listening and magicked all the ingredients to the classroom during playtime - what a relief!
The children have really earned this treat with their super behaviour and hard work this Autumn term. Well done Leopards!
What a strange thing to do...organise a school trip for the last week before Christmas?! This was certainly running through my head this morning, but I needn't have worried...what a super day! The children got to have a wander, had a guided tour and enjoyed a workshop led by some excellent staff from the museum. Not only did the children behave very well, but they showed off their knowledge about the Titanic beautifully. We've had to park the topic a bit over the last couple of weeks because of the nativities so we will be continuing after the holidays. It is so clear that this topic has again captured the Leopards' imaginations and they have obviously been researching a lot at home...they dazzled me and the museum staff with their facts. Thank you so much to the brilliant helpers we had with us today - it was an absolute pleasure to have you with us and I really appreciate all your hard work.
Otterbourne held its own elections today to reflect what was going on in the UK. The Leopards held an ice-cream election! Whilst the Year 1s were busily performing their nativity, the Year 2s got to work creating manifestos for their ice-cream flavour. On the Year 1s return, each party took it in turns to present their manifesto, take questions and sway their voters by presenting them with stickers! After everyone had had the chance to present, the whole class lined up and were crossed off the list by Miss Smith and then voted in private before placing their folded vote in a secure vessel (an un-used sick bowl, what else in a school at this time of year?!)
Bizarrely, we ended up with a hung parliament! I explained that theses results were highly unlikely to happen in real life! The children really enjoyed this task and I think it really helped them understand why everyone was talking so much about the election last week.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
After a full-on day, the Leopards took some time to look after their bodies and souls and had a go at some yoga. Being the smallest classroom in the school, it was a bit of a squeeze, but the children LOVED it and responded beautifully to it. We talk a lot about Spirituality at Otterbourne and this was a great chance for the children to take time for themselves during this busy and exciting time of year.
Type 'Cosmic Kids' into you tube and you will find LOADS of brilliant yoga stories for the children to follow.
The children learnt about the order of events involved in the Titanic sinking. To help the information stick, they re-enacted what happened in 1912. They then used these pictures to see if they could remember everything in the right order.
The children played with alliteration today. They each had to think of a way to describe themselves using a word starting with the same letter as their name. Some were harder than others and I think some children have been rather self-deprecating!
Be Bright, Be Seen!
The children have created some gorgeous posters encouraging others to wear sensibly bright clothes in the dark evenings to keep them safe.
The children are going to start learning about how to write newspaper articles over the next couple of weeks and so today, they looked at the Newsround website as well as looking at a selection of newspaper articles in pairs. They were looking for what they thought were the characteristics of a newspaper report as opposed to a poem, letter or story. They recognised lots of features but no-one spotted that the articles are written in columns!
Click on the link below to see how the Leopards did in their house competition!
The children spent the day thinking about Diwali. They learnt about the special story of Rama and Sita that Hindus think about during Diwali. From this, they thought of all the stories they know where good triumphs over evil. They thought about the link between light/dark and good/evil and what we do in our lives to be as good as we possibly can. They also created a class poem whilst looking at a lit candle which was lovely.
Among all of this, they explored the art of Jackson Pollock. Whilst looking at his work, the children said they were reminded of spiders' webs, birds' nests, plastic in the sea, fireworks, the sun, fire, the moon and stars. We looked at pictures of fireworks and they saw the similarities. They then replicated Pollock's style with their own splatting, pouring, dripping and flicking pictures. They LOVED this and made super links to the light that is celebrated at Diwali time.
(Well done Miss Smith and Miss Higson for navigating their way through a morning of children flicking paint EVERYWHERE!)
Mrs Compton deserves a medal! She spent the last afternoon of the half term scooting up and down the corridors with the Leopards before bravely taking them into the rain to practise scooting in adverse weather conditions. Calls of "SCOOT SCOOT!" could be heard around the school and despite the awkward conditions, the children loved it and were beaming from ear to ear. They talked through what should be done to ensure their safety whilst riding and how to be aware of any dangers when out and about.
I bravely took photos of the fun...from inside!
I hope you've enjoyed looking through what we've been up to this half term. Here's to lots more fun for the next one!
Cooking Crumble and Peter Picnic!
Well, 32 apple and blackberry crumbles later and I'm exhausted but the children have had a lovely day! They should have brought home a delicious pudding for you to enjoy after popping in the oven for a bit. Today has been a great way to draw our topic about Peter Rabbit to a close. The children have learned about the kind of produce grown in the UK and it was a great opportunity to use some to cook with - thank you for supplying the apples. The picnic this afternoon was very sweet too. The children feasted on a menu of radishes, green beans, carrots, parsley, current buns, apple crumble and chamomile tea. Rather bizarrely, the parsley and tea were the most popular!! To round off the day, the class watched some Peter Rabbit whilst they digested their feast in order to not get a tummy ache like Peter.
I've really enjoyed this topic and hope the next one is just as successful!
Here are two letters (sent out today) about activities happening next week.
One of our jobs today was to discuss any ideas the class had for a Children in Need day theme so that Isla can pass our ideas onto the School Council. During the discussion, someone mentioned wearing nail polish for the day and soon a conversation started about whether this would be something the boys would want to do. We had an excellent chat about how there are no rules that say girls HAVE TO like nail varnish and no rules saying that boys CAN'T like nail varnish. We then talked about how laws about what men and women can and cannot do have changed over the years and how opinions on professions have really altered. They were really rather shocked.
Some of the children from my class last year remembered similar chats we had and even remembered me telling them about Carlos Acosta - a former principle at The Royal Ballet School, who comes from Cuba and fought stereotypes to become one of the most renowned male dancers in the world. I was very proud that they remembered.
We then shared the story The Paperbag Princess, all about a princess who fights dragons and rescues a prince, who tells her off for being so scruffy and 'un-princess-like'. She decides not to marry him in the end and I'm glad to say, the Leopards agreed with her choice!
A brilliant story you could watch/read at home is Dogs Don't Do Ballet. It's one of my faves.
As a way of rounding off our learning about Peter Rabbit, next week, the children will have a Peter Rabbit themed picnic, complete with radishes, camomile tea and blackberry and apple crumble made by the Year 2s!
As preparation for this, the children used their Computing slot this week to search for crumble recipes and write down any ingredients they found.
An update on the radishes and parsley that we're growing in honour of Peter Rabbit....
The plants now have stems, leaves and roots! Thanks to me accidentally knocking over a tray of seedlings () the children got a chance to see the wiggly, long roots that have grown. We used poor Alexander as a plant model to demonstrate that his roots (legs) held him firm when the wind (me giving him a gentle shove!) was trying to blow him over. When we took his roots away (made him kneel down) he got knocked over very easily because he wasn't very sturdy. We contrasted all of this to the plant that I had hidden away in my cupboard, which has had no water, light or healthy compost. The children were able to spot the differences conditions can make to a plant.
The children then had a go at being the teacher and explaining what they had learnt about different parts of a plant to the class and did fabulously...I might take the day off!
* Thank you Alex for being a brilliant plant!
I love introducing my class to peer massage. It is a great way to teach children about what is appropriate pressure to use with each other as well as a means of letting them relax.
The routine is simple and easy to follow:
I hope the children treat you to a massage at home!
The children are focusing on partitioning in maths at the moment. For the year 1s, this is a brand new concept. They are looking at two (and three for some) digit numbers and thinking about pulling them apart to look at the 'ingredients'. Below are some examples.
For the Year 2s, they are revisiting this and extending and deepening their understanding in order to apply it to problem solving.
Planting Mr McGregor's Garden
Our slot in the Computing Suite is on a Monday morning. The year 1 children were markedly more confident in logging in compared to last week and so I was very impressed. They all did well with opening a program and some children are now working on saving their work when they have finished.
Peter Rabbit Launch
Today, the children found out they will be learning about Peter Rabbit. They were really excited!
They listened to a very special recording of The Tale of Peter Rabbit on a record player whilst they got comfy in some burrows! They then learnt a little bit about Beatrix Potter and realised they know lots of her stories already!
It has been a LOVELY first day in the Leopards' class! The day has been filled with setting up new routines, singing, story telling, English work and getting to know each other through some play. What a fabulous start!!
Victorian seaside adventure!
The children have been using the school iPads to do some research for their writing. Their task was to write a persuasive text convincing someone that The Isle of Wight was an excellent place to visit. They worked in pairs, taking it in turns, to use the iPad and writing notes on the exciting things that could be done on the island. The finished written pieces are lovely...and very persuasive!
The Isle of Wight
What an adventure! Our trip to The Isle of Wight was a FABULOUS day and left everyone buzzing...and exhausted!
We caught the ferry, parted ways on Coach 1 and Coach 2 and spent the day playing on the beach, watching hover-crafts and meeting cows at a dairy farm. Considering how miserable our Summer is turning out to be at the moment, we were super lucky with the weather and actually enjoyed some very hot sunshine. All sorts of unexpected exciting things happened which added to the occasion. Thank you for equipping the children so well for the trip and getting them to school so early. It was really worth it!
More glorious weather meant more outdoor learning. Today, the children continued with their Longitudinal Science Study they have been dipping in and out of all year. Their focus is bees and we spent the morning thinking about pollination and the plants bees visit in the meadow. The pictures below show an experiment the children did to demonstrate how a bee pollinates flowers. Some of the children were flowers, spread across the school field holding a Wotsit crisp. The other children were the bees, holding a fluffy ball of cotton wool. I, as their Queen Bee, sent the bees buzzing off across the field to visit the plants. Each time the 'bee' (cotton wool) visited a 'flower' (Wotsit), it would become coated in the 'pollen' (orange powder) ready to be transferred to the next 'flower'. As a result, more children became flowers on the field. The children had lots of fun doing this but also very quickly recognised how important bees are to sustaining our planet.
Outdoor Classroom Day!
What a beautiful day to spend outside! The Leopards spent the entire morning outside today, drawing and painting as part of the arts week activities. The atmosphere was so calm and relaxed and the children loved having story time outside too. By the afternoon, we retreated to the classroom for an hour to cool off before going back outside for PE. We should do this more!
The children have been looking at partitioning numbers into tens and ones this week and using this to help with addition and subtraction.
Today, they became human Dienes to help them with their understanding of the 'ingredients' of 2 or 3 digit numbers. They have been using Dienes all week to help them when working at tables so they understand their relevance really well. They really enjoyed the game and the physicality of it.
This was the children's third star party and they loved it. They had collaborated as a class to earn their ten stars and chose this reward themselves. Here's to the next one!
Today I brought the Otterbourne chicks into the classroom so the Leopards could meet them up close. All the children were keen to experience them which I was really pleased about. They all had a gentle stroke of the chicks and agreed that they are very soft indeed.
The class asked lots of valuable questions but were mainly interested in how much poo the chicks were producing!
Bhangra dancing for Holi!
Yesterday, the children spent the entire day learning about Holi - a Hindu festival which happens in March. They really enjoyed learning about a different culture and how many of the traditions associated with a Hindu festival are similar to Christian or Western celebrations.
Today, they got the chance to experience what they had learned about by doing some Bhangra dancing. They were taught by Jasmine, who explained some of the history of the dance to begin with and got everyone moving with a great big smile on their faces. The moves took a lot of concentration and most importantly, co-ordination! The children did brilliantly and I'm so glad they got to experience this!
Written by Leopards Class children:
Today, we went to the farm. There were lots of animals and we fed the sheep. We also saw a lamb. It felt a bit funny because the sheep licked our hands but afterwards we washed our hands clean. We had so much fun there because we got to touch the animals.
We learned about farms in the Victorian times. We had a chance to walk with a plough and pretend to drop seeds. Later, we had a go at revving a modern tractor.
We learnt about the Victorian children's time at school and got to pretend we were at a Victorian school. We had to be silent!
In a Victorian house, there were potties under the beds in case you needed a wee in the middle of the night. Also, people didn't have electricity in the Victorian times and so they had to use candles to see. It would have been very fiddly to light a candle in the middle of the night. There was a cold room to keep meat in because there was no fridge.
The weather was rainy and as watery as the sea. It was also cold but we still had a good time. It was a peaceful farm.
International Women's Day
Today, we spoke about how life hasn't always been fair between men and women and how things have changed a lot.
We also spoke about gender stereotypes. I put a pile of Lego and some colouring pens in front of the children and without saying anything, a child said "Oh, boys toys and girls toys" and explained that the Lego was for boys and the pens were for girls. We discussed this a lot and ended up watching video clips of Carlos Acosta dancing which challenged many of their ideas that boys can't be dancers. I could see that a lot of the children changed their minds as to what were the supposed 'rules' for their gender.
This was all topped off by a visit from a pilot. I asked the children to guess what the pilot's name might be before they came in. I was so pleased that some of the children guessed girls' names. The visit from Kirsty was amazing and taught us so much about her career as a Red Arrows pilot.
What a day! The children have spent the day learning about Shrove Tuesday and the history and traditions behind it. They worked in groups to make their own pancakes and then topped them with lemon and sugar. Below is the recipe if they can't remember it! Tomorrow, they'll be learning how to write instructions in the form of a recipe.
100g plain flour
2 eggs (or 2 bananas for those who couldn't have eggs)
1 tablespoon oil
To finish the day off, the whole school took part in pancake races! It's been lots of fun!
The Great Fire of London Day
We have had an amazing day emerged in 1666 life.
Today, the children have...
Thank you so much for the EXCELLENT costumes the children arrived in...they looked fab and really enjoyed their day!
The children had the opportunity to take part in a dance workshop on the afternoon of the 8th January (apologies for the late upload!)
They looked at the painting Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh and used dance to tell the story of the picture. I got the chance to sit back and observe the children. ALL of them were engaged and enjoying the chance to dance in such an expressive way.
Looking after personal items
This is a bit of a plea!
The children in the Leopards find it really hard to look after their own things! Whether it is their water-bottle, cardigan/jumper or PE kit/school uniform, we end up with a huge proportion of the children missing things each day. We have a box for water-bottles, a box for jumpers/cardigans and the bottom part of the children's pegs are for PE kits so in theory, each item has a designated spot. I've noticed that the children don't have much drive to find their own bits and pieces themselves if they get lost and so I'm trying to encourage them to take a little more pride in looking after the things that you have bought them.
If you could encourage them to look after their own things at home (EG, getting their uniforms out themselves in the morning, looking for things by themselves, folding their clothes and piling them up themselves) I'd really appreciate it.
If all items (even socks and shoes please!) could be clearly labelled too please, it would make sorting lost bits and pieces so much easier!
Thank you so much for your support,
Last week, the children had a go at writing their very own alternative fairy tale as a way of finishing their learning about Traditional Tales. They were based on the story of The Three Little Trolls and the Big Bad Goat (!) and were great fun to read.
This week, they've started focusing on Non-Fiction texts. So far, the class has learnt about Contents pages, headings and how to organise their writing to fit under sub-headings. During reading groups, some children have come across Glossary pages and are now using them independently. We've also spoken about the importance of using photos rather rather than drawings to ensure accuracy too.
It might be an idea to look at any Non-Fiction books you might have at home, or that you might find at the library to talk through some of the these features. We'll be looking at internet pages too see how these features are used to.
The Leopards have been learning about what this fancy word means this week whilst adding and subtracting. They've done so well! The picture below explains how only addition and multiplication calculations are commutative whereas subtraction and division calculations are not.
Test the children to see if they can explain what it means!
Fireworks and Jackson Pollock!
Today, the children learnt about Jackson Pollock, an artist who dripped, poured and splatted paint to create an abstract effect. We linked this learning to an afternoon of thinking about the fireworks the children have enjoyed seeing recently.
Adjectives, nouns and verbs
Here is a taste of something we have spent a lot of time working on in English this half term.
The children have learnt that:
Adjectives can describe something
Verbs can tell us what to do
Nouns can be a person, place or thing
Perhaps test them to see if they can remember that!
Here are some pictures of them using their knowledge to describe Grandma from the book we're reading at the moment - George's Marvellous Medicine. The children are LOVING the book (especially how horrible Grandma is!) and so had a timer challenge to see how many adjectives, nouns and verbs they could think of for Grandma. The year 2s were given the challenge to put their knowledge into the context of an extended noun phrase (eg/ her disgusting, brown teeth.)
Our trip to Marwell Zoo!
Our topic this half term is called Our Wonderful World. The children have so far focused on animals from the Arctic and in order to put their learning into context, a day out to the zoo seemed in order.
The day was fab, albeit a bit damp. I seemed to have 29 tour guides with me, all keen to show me the sights and sounds as it was my first ever visit (something the children couldn't believe!) We had some amazing parent helpers and some incredibly sleepy children on the way home. A huge success!