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Otterbourne C.E. Primary School

Excellence for All in Every Way

Year 1/2 (Leopards)


Welcome to the Leopards class page!

The adults in the class are Miss Smith, Mrs Bertacchini, Mrs Alexander (1:1) and Mrs Welch (1:1)

Mrs Compton will be in the classroom to cover my PPA on a Tuesday afternoon.

PE is going to be on a Tuesday and Thursday.

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.



The Leopards' final Star Party


What a perfect afternoon to spend playing with water! The children LOVED this party and smiled non-stop for 2 hours. A fabulous way to end the year!


The Isle of Wight


Wow, what a long day! The children had a super time, no-one got hurt and we didn't miss the ferry - a huge success in my mind!

At the farm, the children got to stroke and feed the new calves, went to visit some pregnant cows (some parallels were kindly made to me!), the went to the milking shed and saw the process for milking, then finally had a visit into the farm shop.

The beach was a real highlight. The children had a picnic, played in/on the sand, spotted the hovercraft arriving and had ice-cream from the farm we'd visited. 

The ferry trips were, of course, hugely exciting too. The Leopards had some Eye Spy booklets to keep them busy looking out the windows on the way there and some mindfulness colouring for the exhausted trip back.

I really hope the Leopards enjoyed their little adventure across the sea. They behaved beautifully and seemed to really enjoy themselves. Thank you SO much to the super helpers that came with us - you were fabulous!!


Wheely Good Week


A really fun opportunity for the Leopards! We discussed road safety and why wearing a helmet is so important. I was quite shocked at the number of children who still, despite some lengthy discussions, said they wouldn't wear a helmet outside of school because they believed they were good enough to scoot/ride without one. 


Sports Day


The Leopards did brilliantly! I was so proud!


Flower Hunting


For the 40 minutes it rained today, we did outside Science! Not the best timing but all the children had coats and a bit of rain doesn't need to put a stop to learning! Continuing our Science topic about plants, the children went searching for the sorts of flowers they can find growing at school. They found Daisies, Dandelions, Ground Ivy, Apple Blossom, Hawthorn and Celandine. This linked nicely to our Longitudinal Study about bees so the children used a lollystick to see if a bee would be able to land on the flowers they found. 


Phillip and Dotty


The Leopards have welcomed two new members...Phillip and Dotty the caterpillars! The class chose their names and are fascinated by watching them grow. They live on my desk and are getting fatter each day on a diet of apple, nettle and thistle mush. The creatures have REALLY sparked the Leopards' interests and we ended up having a really interesting conversation about human diets the other day simply because of a question about the caterpillars. During the library visit today, a very suitable book was found by one of the children and placed next to Phillip and Dotty to keep them company.


Welcome Back!


Hello! It's been a really long time since I updated this page so I thought I would get back on track to update you with some of the comings and goings of Leopard life.


This week:

  • The children have continued to practise playing tuned percussion with their music teacher Miss Horn and can now play a pretty impressive rendition of Hot Cross Buns!
  • We finished all our work on The Great Fire of London by rebuilding London! The children came up with suggestions for the king to help him when re-designing London and we put it into action by creating a mini London in the classroom, complete with River Thames made from blue paper towels!
  • We started a new focus book in English which will really support our new topic - more on that to come. Our new book is called The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch and a link to the story on YouTube is here:
  • We went bird watching in the sunshine to collect appropriate verbs for birds. We then turned these into list poems. They looked beautiful and Mr BM has requested some for his office and the corridors.
  • The children have focused on subtraction in maths and have done SO well. I'm so proud of how they have applied the techniques they worked so hard on for adding to this operation.


There are some pictures below to show you some of this in action!



Otter Day


Usually, the school spends the day working in their houses for Otter Day but sadly, this year, that just wasn't possible. So we stuck to our Leopard bubble and worked on the theme of Communication. The Tigers and Jaguars also worked on this so we each took a strand of what Communication can look like and as a class, we spent some time thinking about Body Language. 


First, the children looked at these images and worked as teams to discuss what they thought the people in the pictures were trying to say with their bodies. The responses from the children were really interesting and very sensitive. It was great when discussions arose such as:

"She looks like she's lost and needs someone's help"

"But perhaps she's just playing hide and seek and is counting with her eyes closed?"

The class then watched Mrs Welch and I do our best Oscar winning performances; reading from the same short script three times but with varying body language. The children had to guess how we were actually feeling each time.


The children then had a go at this themselves. What a load of divas!

Finally, I showed them some famous images of body language doing all the talking to see what their interpretations were considering they don't know the backstory as adults might. They were very perceptive!


What's the time Mr Wolf?


Telling the time is REALLY hard. So we had some fun with it!


A day in the life of the Leopards!




The children were SO respectful, intrigued and shocked by what they learned about Remembrance Day. They worked jolly hard to put this video together to celebrate the heroes we are so lucky to honour. 


Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines!


The children learned about The Wright Brothers today and how they invented the aeroplane. They then worked in groups to compare and contrast them with Christopher Columbus and Amelia Earhart. 

Finally, they had a go at inventing their own contraptions to go and explore the world in. They did this whilst listening to the attached song! There's a picture of the children 'wearing' their flying goggles!

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines - Original theme song

This is the original theme song from the movie Those magnificent men in their flying machines, this film and two of its stars, Terry Thomas & Eric Sykes were...


Goodbye Miss Smith


The lovely 'other Miss Smith' is sadly leaving the Leopards and Otterbourne to have a new adventure at a new school. We will all miss her enormously. She has supported the children in the class beautifully and we have all benefitted from her love and guidance. Have fun, Miss Smith - your new school is incredibly lucky to have you! 


Pirate Day!


Not only a fab way to finish off some learning about sea travellers but a lovely way to finish the first half term!

The children did some Pirate Maths where they had to get the answers to their maths questions right in order to unlock the treasure chest. They checked their final answers with their teams and submitted what they thought the pass code was for the padlock. Their fab maths skills and team work unlocked the padlock and they got the treasure - some more chocolate gold coins!


They then enjoyed a carousel of activities:

  • Map making
  • Biscuit decorating
  • Bee Bot programming
  • Parrot crafts
  • Outdoor pirate instructions!


PJ Party!


My Lovely Leopards earned themselves a star party today. By working as a team and following the school and class rules, the children have been rewarded buttons to fill a jar. They decided what they wanted their reward for being wonderful to be and voted to have a PJ party. So after PE, they got comfy and enjoyed some hot-chocolate and popcorn whilst watching UP (which is what our English has been based on). A lovely afternoon for us all!


Bee hunting!


Our Longitudinal Study this year is all about bees! We will be thinking about these incredible creatures throughout the year, investigating how the time of year affects their behaviour and how much we see them. 

I left this as a very open ended lesson and let the children lead the way. In the pictures below, you will see the children shared their existing knowledge about bees - I was amazed with the children's contributions. We also discussed what they would like to find out throughout their investigation. 

The children then predicted how many bees we would find and created their own method of collecting the data - tallies on a whiteboard for every been spotted. 

Armed with wet weather gear and whiteboards, we went searching for bees in the school meadow and playground.

We then looked at our (varied!) results and the majority of us agreed we had seen no bees. We concluded that this was most likely due to the bad weather, the temperature, our presence in the meadow and the absence of flowers. We also used the internet to find out whether bees hibernate as this was a suggested reason too.



Beebot programming and ICT


The children had loads of fun with Mrs Cook today, learning how to program Beebots and practise basic skills on the computer.


Tens and Ones partitioning


We talked about the ingredients of a number today and used Diennes to think about the tens and ones. Being able to partition numbers will help the children to add, subtract, multiply and divide two digit numbers in the future. After using the plastic Diennes, the children became the Diennes!


Number Bonds


Here is an example of what maths can look like in the Leopards class! The children loved learning like this. I had added links to the game we played and song we danced to on Google Classroom 




The children have been learning about Christopher Columbus recently and his adventures in search of riches and spices in Asia. Here are some pictures of a young, poor Christopher Columbus in Italy, dreaming of being a sailor (thank you Sophie), the rich people he was very different to (thank you Adam and Amy with your servant Florence) and Queen Isabella and Kind Ferdinand of Spain (thank you Jasmine and Campbell) who gave Christopher the money to set sail to Asia.




The children then learnt about what life was like on board the ships heading off West to Asia. We used poor Miss Smith to model how horrid it would have been for those sailors!

The children will be going on to write stories about explorers now. Today, they looked at a photograph of a person and were allowed to ask a question each to work out who it was of and why we were learning about them. Miraculously, they worked out that the photo was of Amelia Earhart - the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean! We will use Amelia's story, combined with inspiration from the film Up to create exciting stories!


Spot the difference between Amelia and me in our flying helmets and googles!




There's no such thing as bad weather…just bad clothes! 

I'm a big believer in this so I was out with the children on Friday when it was raining very hard, jumping in puddles and splashing about. I had my coat, hood and wellies on so I was absolutely fine, as were the children. They came back in, ready to learn and feeling fresh.

We'll be out in the rain, wind, snow and sleet so please do make sure the children have all the things they need to stay protected against the British weather. Certainly, at the moment, the weather is changing throughout each day so I tell the children it's better to bring a coat and leave it in your locker for the day than not bring one and end up cold and wet.


Counting in tens


We did some outside learning today for maths - whilst we still can without getting hopelessly wet and cold!


The children explored what is actually happening when they count in tens by leaping across the playground over all the little numbers that we miss out when counting in steps of ten.


We then came in and looked at a hundred square and noticed the patterns that are created when counting in steps of ten:

"All the numbers go up and down in a column." - Celeste

"They all end in the same number." - Charlotte.


The class tested this theory by starting on different numbers and going backwards and forwards. 


Pirate Poems!


The children have been thinking about this poem called Roger the Pirate.

They have learnt about lines starting with capital letters and ending with commas, writing lists using commas, the use of sound effects and rhyme and also the importance of performing a poem appropriately to entertain an audience. They watched the wonderful Michael Rosen perform some of his own poems which really made the point!


Using the Roger the Pirate poem, the children planned their own version. Some of the year 2s realised that the rest of the poem would not rhyme if it was adapted and so created other new lines to continue the rhythm of the rhyme. The children then had a go at performing their poems, using the other class members as helpers.


Using concrete materials in maths


Numbers are very abstract concepts, especially to young children. Therefore, we took some time to think about what a number can look like. This helps the children when ordering and comparing numbers later. It also encourages familiarity with the resources on offer when they get stuck.

The children worked in groups with each group having an ipad to document what they created.




The Leopards experienced their first music lesson today. They will be learning how to play drums and percussion instruments from Ghana. The improvement throughout the session was really noticeable as the children began to play as one, keeping beat and looking out for when to stop. The sound produced was very loud!




Our First Week!


We made it! Our first week is done! It has been tiring but so much fun. The new Leopards are a lovely lot - there is a real mix of characters and I think we will have lots of fun together. In fact, it has already begun.


On Wednesday, I played a pirate game with the children on the playground and explained that this was because we were going to be learning about pirates and explorers. The children were really excited about this. To the huge surprise of us all, we returned to the classroom to not only find a message in a bottle but a map too! The excitement was off the scale at this point. The children worked together to work out where the hidden treasure marked on the mysterious map must be, and discovered a bounty of chocolate coins. I made them work for their prize though as they had to create the key for the map that had been suspiciously burnt off. Someone suggested a cannon ball was to blame. 


Below are some pictures of some of the things we have got up to this week,

  • Singing
  • Voting outdoors
  • Playing
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Puppet making
  • Visiting the library





Hello! Welcome to the Leopards Class Page! I will update this page weekly so you can keep up to date with what the children get up to.


Some useful information for you:


Tuesdays: Mrs Compton will teach the children during my PPA time where I am out of the classroom. She will be doing some PE and PSHE with the class.


Thursdays: The children will do R&R PE in the afternoon.


A child with a clearly labelled uniform and PE kit is the best gift any adult in a school can be given so please, please, please keep checking that your child's clothes have their name somewhere clearly displayed - I have 29 of the same outfit to contend with!


Thank you ever so much for all of your support! 


Miss Smith smiley


Strange finds...


Recently, we have discovered some odd bits and pieces in our classroom.


The children first found a letter, dropped on the floor addressed to The Three Bears from Goldilocks. It was a letter of apology which prompted the children to write their own sorry letters from other characters found in Fairy Tales eg, The Wicked Witch saying sorry to Rapunzel for locking her up, The Big Bad Wolf saying sorry to The Three Little Pigs etc


Then this morning, mixed up with our Traditional Tales collection, the class came across a tatty and ripped diary which since reading, they have deduced must belong to Cinderella! How handy, as we need to do some diary writing in class....!


Road Safety


We talked about 'Stop, Look, Listen, Think' today. For many of the children, this was a brand new concept and they found it tricky to remember these 4 steps to staying safe next to the road. They were introduced to the word 'hazard' and used it well. We role played outside where we should aim to cross a road and what each crossing was called. Please encourage the children to really pay attention to the roads they travel along to foster the importance of crossing roads in sensible places using 'Stop, Look, Listen and Think'.


World Book Day!


An amazing day celebrating all things books! The children managed to squeeze a lot into their day, including:

  • a Desert Island discs style activity where they had to think of the top 3 books they would take with them if they were stranded on a desert island
  • a story relay where they had to provide one line of a story without knowing what the previous person had said
  • designing a book cover for a book they only had the title of
  • solving a mystery in the library...which book character had broken into the school over night and left all sorts of clues behind
  • and of course, plenty of time for reading and sharing books

Thank you ever so much for the support with the costumes!


Spring into Fitness and Wellbeing!


We have really embraced this theme and spent the week doing the most lovely activities...I've really enjoyed it!!

Here is a glimpse of SOME of the things we have been busy doing:


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Dancing 2.MP4

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Goodbye Miss McPhee!


We have been so lucky to have the lovely Miss McPhee working in the Leopards class for the past 6 weeks for part of her teacher training. The children have loved having her teach them and she has become a really valuable person in their school lives. As a treat for the children on her last day, Miss McPhee brought in some biscuit decorating bits and bobs and the children spent Friday afternoon being creative with icing! Enjoy your next school Miss McPhee, we will miss you!

Plans for this week:

Maths: more work on multiplication (Level 1: repeated addition is the same thing as multiplication, Level 2:  2 step multiplication problems)

English: re-writing the ending to Rapunzel

Art: Hans Holbein portraits


Hans Holbein Portraits


The children learnt about Holbein today and his important job of making important people look as good as possible. They watched a video clip from Portrait Artist of the Year about what makes a good 'sitter' for a portrait then had a go at creating a basic portrait of a friend. The class all admitted at the end of the afternoon how hard it was to create a flattering image of someone! 


Kite Flying


Miss McPhee has required the Leopards' help recently as she has a hole in her greenhouse! They have had to help her investigate what material would work best to fix it. Last week, the children thought about various materials' abilities to let light through (essential for a greenhouse, of course). Today, the children experimented with how weather and water proof materials are. They made paper kites and thanks to Storm Ciara, tested them in the rain and wind. They soon discovered paper was not durable enough despite letting a decent amount of light through it. They decided plastic would work better but had to develop their ideas after Miss McPhee created a clingfilm kite which didn't do well in the wind. This investigation has really helped the children develop their understanding of the differences between materials and their properties, encouraged new vocabulary and encouraged their comparing and contrasting skills.



...a few people were inquiring about the castle building homework. All details were on the Spring 1 homework sheet that came out earlier this half term. Here it is again if you missed it!


Puppet Shows!


The children have thought of alternative endings to the story of Rapunzel. We spoke about how a prince would normally save the princess in traditional tales and thought it was time for a change. The children have mapped out what they want their new ending to be like and have created puppets to practise telling the new version to their friends before writing it down next week.


A round up...


Apologies for not updating our page for the past week. It's been a very VERY busy time at Otterbourne recently! Here's a little glimpse into what the children have been up to recently....


Times Table Rockstars (Y2) and Spelling Shed have been big hits! The children seem to have really been motivated by it so long may it last!


We've started looking at multiplication in maths. Many of the year 1s are new to this concept so it is introduced as repeated addition: 5 + 5 + 5 is the same as 3 x 5. This is where all their home practice of counting in 2s, 5s and 10s will come in handy.


For the year 2s and those who are familiar with what multiplication means, they have been exploring the depths of what is actually happening when they multiply numbers. They have been exploring different methods to find the answer to a multiplication calculation and applying this to word problems.



Dancing with Miss McPhee in PE!

This makes me smile SO much!!!!!! Look at their faces! When any of them are wobbly about coming into school in the morning, just remember that they spend their days having fun like this!


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An exploration of how far apart the elements of history they have explored are,




Today, the children watched footage from Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953. We talked through what was happening and why and then the class reenacted what they had seen! Roles included:

  • The Queen
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury (with the closest hat I could find to that which a bishop might wear!)
  • Prince Phillip
  • Ladies in Waiting
  • The Queen's children who were too young to attend
  • The horses pulling the gold carriage
  • Guards and soldiers
  • Trumpeters
  • The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret


The children then looked at images from Elizabeth I's coronation as well as Queen Victoria's. They discussed how they knew just by looking at the images that they were showing the queens at their coronations and why we couldn't watch a video of those events. What a fun Friday afternoon!

My Movie 1.mp4

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A royal visit!


The children were told that they would be having a visitor come to school today so that they could ask him or her some questions about history. The class couldn't believe their eyes when (after raiding the drama cupboard) a queen walked into the classroom!! Obviously, they were very excited but soon realised that they would only be listened to by the queen if she was addressed by 'Your majesty'. The children asked the queen all sorts of interesting questions and revealed that they wanted to find out lots more about royalty. Someone did ask "Why are you wearing Miss Smith's shoes and earrings?" but the queen brushed past that question....!


Letter formation


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!


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Traditional Tales


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!


2D Shape


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.


Folk Dancing!


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!


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Welcome back!


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.


Star Party!


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!


Titanic Museum


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.smiley


Election Day!


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.


Titanic timeline


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!angel 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. smiley


Gender Equality!


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.

The children were very amused to see me as The Paperbag Princess from a World Book Day of times gone by!


Recipe Research


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 (frown)  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!


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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:


  • Lights off
  • Music on
  • Partner up
  • Ask permission - Would you like a massage? Yes please! (They always have the option to opt out if they're not comfortable)
  • Follow the picture instructions on the screen (Harry Potter glasses = draw circles on your partners back, Brush off the snow = brush down your partner's shoulders etc)
  • Say thank you!


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!


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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!



iPad Research


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!


Topic Launch


Pollinating Bees


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.


Star Party!


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!


Chick visit!


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! 



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Manor Farm


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.


Shrove Tuesday


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)

300ml milk

1 tablespoon oil



Lemon juice


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...

  • Written coded messages using quills, just like Samuel Pepys
  • Created portraits of Charles II using watercolours
  • Created Fire of London themed board games
  • Baked biscuits
  • Made houses for a mini Fire of London on the field


Thank you so much for the EXCELLENT costumes the children arrived in...they looked fab and really enjoyed their day!


Dance workshop


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,

Miss Smith smiley



Non-Fiction Writing


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!