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Pine & Elm Class

Pine and Elm Classes are mixed year 1 and Reception classes that follow an Enquiry Based Learning approach. 



This week we decided that we wanted to celebrate the end of the year by having a fire.  We discussed together how we needed to be safe and what we must do - recapping our own risk assessment.


We then collected some twigs to help the fire burn and when we were invited into the fire circle we were able to put our twigs on the fire.  We then roasted our marshmallows!


They were very very yummy and we were very proud of ourselves about how safe we were.





This is a week of reflection in reception - a reflection on our learning about castles.  We are discussing and sharing our favourite parts of this enquiry and noting it for our learning journeys.  Favourites include, drawing wonderful castles on the computer, creating the princess hats in the making area, creating castles and labelling the parts with the lego and creating wonderful things to make the princess happy in the mobilo.


Year 1 have been given the task to design and make a fun castle for the princess.  This involved a great deal of discussion and fun!  Lots of amazing ideas and wonderful creations were made.  We then referred back to the design to see if we had followed it or if we needed to add more.



In literacy Reception have been finding out about minibeasts and how to establish if they are an insect or not.  They have then been writing captions to inform others.


Year one have been writing poems using adjectives and have enjoyed sharing it with their friends.


In maths we have been solving problems - ask us what about!


Our castle enquiry has developed - the princess has asked for our help - she is very bored and her mum and dad have too many royal duties to take her out.  Can we design something to make the castle more fun?  Lots of wonderful ideas and discussions took place and we have been adding slides, waterparks and quads!



The ducks have been growing over the weekend and have been learning how to swim.  They absolutely love the water.  


We wanted to swim them as a class so discussed how we needed to behave.  We made sure that we kept still and remained quiet so that we did not frighten them.


They were really good a swimming and when some of them went back to their cage we heard them calling for their family.



Hatch day has arrived!  A very blurry photo but some wonderful fluffy....





Wow!  One of the eggs is cracking!  We are so excited.  We can also hear cheeping coming from the cage so the mystery is deepening!


During our other work, Year one have been investigating colour mixing using flowers and kitchen roll.  They have been predicting what will happen with the mixing of colours and observing the changes that happened.


Reception have been investigating the caterpillar life cycle and our caterpillars are now in their cocoons.  We have been making our own caterpillars using playdough, looking carefully at the features of different caterpillars and discussing how they are the same or different.


Come to our marketplace on Friday  and find out even more!





A delivery has arrived..........


What could they be?  Ideas of...... dinosaur, crocodile, snake, blue tit, robin, goose, partridge, chicks, ducks or...... perhaps a dragon!


How exciting.  



W/b 18.06.18

This week reception and year one had a visitor to help us hide our individually decorated rocks around the KS1 outdoor learning environment.  The children each hid their own rock and have been investigating and exploring all of the different areas to find each others rocks.  It has been great fun 'Rocking around school!!'



As part of our Castle Enquiry we have carried out a learning walk.  The children have chosen to use the Ipads castle to create their own 'creepy castles' and then transfer this into their lego play.  They now also choose to write signs to warn others about what they have built!  The toys that have been sent to the class by the princess have proved very enjoyable and they are now displayed in our own class museum.  The making area has been very busy with children continuing their creating with swords and shields.  We have also created a new outdoor area - a construction site for the castle to have it's improvements.  Throughout all these activities we are encouraging the children to solve problems and to work together, again listening to each other but to also reach a satisfactory conclusion. 

The jester

Still image for this video


As part of our Castles enquiry we were visited by the Lady in waiting and jesters.  We had great fun watching archery, magic tricks and juggling.  Year 1 tried some crafts and games that used to be played.  



Reception are working hard this week.  We have decided to develop our critical thinking and improvement skills by carrying out some scientific drawing.  We are using the you tube clip 'Austin's butterfly'.  We are looking at how Austin improved his drawing throughout the process of redrafting and how we can as a class discuss ways that we can all improve.


Reception are also continuing with their problem solving skills in their maths work and discussing the properties of shape.  We will be developing this further by explanations and further critical thinking during the activity.



Reception children have been given some challenges this week........


  • create a garden for the castle - what will you use?  What is best to use?  Investigate different materials and then discuss what is the best.
  • Label your building of a castle - can you read the words - what sounds can you hear?  
  • Complete the witch's phonic challenge and read the captions to become a knight
  • Solve the shape problem to solve a problem - which shape is best to build a castle?  Why?


Ask us all about how we solved the problems!


Year 1 have been busy using plurals in our literacy work.  The children have had to look out for some trick sounds that mean that we have to add 'es' to the end of our word instead of just an 's'.


In numeracy the children have been challenging themselves within their addition work.  They have been rolling high number die to help them make an addition sentence and then using the 100 square to solve the equation.  Many of you have then gone off to complete this challenge independently as one of your busy learning tasks. Great work Year 1!




The enquiry so far.....


What a busy half term with our new enquiry.  We came up with our own questions to lead the enquiry and have investigated some already.  We have used the computer to help us investigate and enjoyed seeing how a helmet was made.  This has then transferred into our own learning where we have become the experts at making various props for our role play.  We are now trying hard to make our own bow and arrows and will develop this further next half term.  We have been created our own castle adventures and created role play areas in our classroom to support this.  Outside has been a real castle focus too and our learning walks have helped us to share our ideas with our friends.  Various genres of writing have been explored including report writing and instructions.  We have been solving various problems in our maths investigations which have been very tricky!  


The reception children are now going to be introduced to 'must do jobs' and the year one children are having work lists on a lanyard for them to complete each day.  These will be a mixture of basic skills, creative and investigational tasks to develop our enquiry even further!


We are looking forward to the next half term to continue our hard work and extend our learning even further.

w/c 14.5.18

This week Reception and Year 1 have been focusing our literacy and numeracy around growing beans.  Receptions have been completing challenges based around the story of Jack and the beanstalk.  They have been writing instructions for Jack so that he knows what he needs to do to plant his beans.  They have also been completing a maths challenge to help Jack count and organise his beans so that he doesn't get told of by his mum. 

Year one have been learning time words and how we can use them in our writing.  They have been writing how we grew beans, ordering the steps that we took and using time words to show the order and sequence of the instructions. 

Week commencing 08.05.18

This week Reception and Year 1 have been looking at toys, and how they have changed over time.  We have been lucky enough to have some real 'old' toys to explore.  We have discussed how toys have changed, what is different and what is similar. 



We are all very excited about our new enquiry.  We have been sharing our learning with people at home and have been bringing in what we have learnt to show our friends.


Our school trip will be happening on Wednesday where we will be visiting Castle Rising and looking at the different parts of a castle, going on a treasure hunt and answering questions.


Thursday:  Our school trip was wonderful.  We found out lots and lots of information about castles and loved investigating.  We are now continuing our work, identifying features of castles and using our new knowledge to develop our thinking and learning in our own environment.

Our Enquiry is developing........


Each child has been asked what they would like to know about the new Enquiry.  Reception have completed speech bubbles in their learning journeys and a LONG list of questions has been continued.  They have begun to solve some problems by becoming experts in making resources for the castles - each group of children have made different props which will then in turn help all the children when they share their knowledge.


Year one have been writing their questions and ending the sentence with..... a question mark!  Lots of wonderful ideas have been shared and one particular question has been written very well.  'I want to know how helmets are made'.  this was shared with all the children then a short you tube clip was watched which showed how one type of helmet was made by a blacksmith on his forge.  WOW!  The children were all then inspired to make their own helmets, this time out of paper and other resources which has now extended into making hats for the royal family too!


What next?

Our new enquiry begins.............





We have started a new enquiry - following on from our work with dragons we are extending it to castles.  The children have been talking about what they already know about castles and then what they want to find out.


Key questions are being developed using props and pictures about castles.  These have been very in depth and very broad such as:


We want to find out about the weapons, how sharp are the swords and how to they get to be very good at them?

How do they make the armour shiny?

How do you use catapults?

Where do the knights get their horses from?

Are princesses still alive?

What toys are there in castles?

How are castles built?


We will now be looking at ways to find out the answers to these questions and create further investigations along the way!



To develop our problem solving, reasoning and fluency work we have been set two tasks.  The year one children have been given a witch's number bond activity - the triangle - they need to put all parts of the jigsaw together to create a triangle of number bonds!  This will involve thinking, problem solving and talking about the different ways that this problem could be solved.


Reception have been set a witch's challenge - to help her sort out her ribbons.  As she lost a ribbon she has to now sort out all her other ribbons - but how should she do it?  Would it be best by colour, length or width?  You decide!  The children will then develop their thinking and discussion skills, along with the skills of working together to solve their problems.


Both year groups will be able to share their problems with each other and support each other in their development!



A focus on reading


Karen Bolam - the author of Great Aunt Mary The Secret Tooth Fairy came to visit us.  She talked to us about why she wrote the book, how she got her ideas and how she enjoyed making the story rhyme.  We listened carefully and then discussed our favourite parts of the story.


In our classroom environments we have chosen to continue with our Room on the Broom focus work and have added objects that the witch had frozen and we need to help escape, pattern making for a new cloak for the witch and also explaining our creations and reasoning to the witch.  Our witch challenge this week is to use our keywords and sounds in words to read and create captions in Reception and in year one we are writing sentences about our favourite characters using keywords and sounds on the computer.


We are also beginning to find out about a new character - Puddles - who lives in a church and helps us find out all about the celebration of Easter.



We have been developing the skill of whittling this week.  We have learnt that you need to be very careful when you are whittling as you may hurt yourself.  You have to whittle away from your body and not towards it.


We have been whittling our magic wands


Iggety Ziggesty Zaggety ZOOM!


We have also been creating our own healthy kebabs to try and get the dragon not to just eat witch and chips.  Reception have designed their kebabs and written about how it tastes, the year one have used it to create sentences with imperative (bossy) verbs



Parents Consultations


It has been a wonderful opportunity to share all the hard work that your children have been taking part in and sharing their new targets with parents.  All the children amaze us each day and we are so proud of how hard they have been working.

We were very pleased to hear the comments about how parents feel that the Reception/Year 1 mix has been very successful and how inspiring the learning environments are.  Parents feel that we are able to focus on the next steps of learning for their children and that the children are enjoying the wide variety of learning that takes place.




We are continuing with our focus work on Room on a broom.  We have been developing our ideas and using all the characters to support our learning.

We are using puppets to create our own stories and using new characters to add more parts to the stories.


We have been writing our own room on the broom stories which we started on 'World Book Day'.


We have also collected twigs to be used to create our own wands.  We will be developing our understanding of the skill of whittling and carefully  creating wands that we have designed.





We carried out a detailed learning walk this week with our new focus text 'room on the broom'.  We recapped the story and discussed the characters that were in the story and the action.  We then decided the different things that we could do in our learning.  We then went around the whole of our learning environment with our key adults discussing and sharing learning ideas with each other.


Mrs Stevens then took a learning walk herself half way through the morning to see the different things that we had been doing.  We had been very busy - creating our own potions, dragons and stories.  We used the 2 simple program to create pictures of our favourite characters. We also used the mobilo to create and also made some super traps to capture the dragon.  We are going to develop our learning even further in across our environment and have even made a maths adding and subtracting game and phonic reading and writing games to support our learning.





Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 had a celebration day for Chinese New Year.  We learnt all about the 12 animals that were in the Zodiac and found out about the story of why the cat did not make it into the Zodiac - ask us to find out who the cat does not like!


We then created dragon puppets, lanterns with Chinese numbers and wonderful Chinese fans.  They were red which is a lucky colour. We then spent time painting blossom onto trees which we will turn into large lanterns this week.  We also then carried out a dragon dance and also learnt all about a little girl who celebrated Chinese New Year and what she did to celebrate.  We then compared it to other celebrations that we already knew about.


We then discussed what our favourite part of the celebrations were and at the end of the day we collected all our items and also a fortune cookie.  What an interesting time.  



This week we are working on 'Room on a broom'.  We are learning the story using the Pie Corbett approach which is to put actions to the story in order to help us remember it.


We have discussed the actions that we feel should go with the story and then been working on this with each other.  We take it in turns to say parts of the story and really enjoy the loud part - 'Buzz off, That's my witch!'.


We are really excited about sharing this story with our parents and also all our hard work that we have been doing in our classroom.  Our Class assembly is on Thursday 8th February - we look forward to seeing you there!



This week we are working further with our forest school focus.  We foraged last week to collect lots of twigs and sticks for our dragon fire and this week we will be having a fire!  We have got to create a risk assessment before we have the fire to ensure that we all know exactly what we have to do to keep safe and then we will all make sure that we do this!  Once we are sure that we can be safe then we will be allowed to make our own dragon fire.  If we are really safe then we will be allowed marshmallows!


Thursday 1.2.18

As you can see from the pictures - we were really very very safe!  We thought hard about what we needed to do and all listened very well.  We were very proud of ourselves.  We are now thinking about what we can do next on our fire!





We are starting our work on Little Wizard.  This is the story of a wizard who wants to fly.  He ends up getting help from a friendly dragon.  The story is by the same author as Jack Frost and the illustrations are similar.


This work will lead into more magical stories, creating potions and spells using our phonic and keyword knowledge and also developing our enquiry into all things magical.  Reception will be going foraging on Thursday to collect wood for the fire, Year one on Friday - we will then let the wood dry out and start to think about making our own fire like the dragon does!


Look at the world around us - what can you see that is magical?



Wow!  The Enquiry is really taking off - we are looking at our magical world and focussing on ice - we are continuing to use Jack Frost as our focus text and the children are now working on developing their investigations.  They have requested role play equipment to develop their own icy stories.  They have developed addition using snowmen and are also trying to make the biggest igloo using sugar cubes as one of the children requested it!  They are using the ice to develop their understanding of how it changes over time.  One area that the children have really enjoyed is using the lego bricks to create props for their stories.  We have now got a machine that can fire snowballs - courtesy of a group of inventors! They have even decided to have a restaurant where they can focus on cold food to help keep Jack Frost cold!


Where next?

The Start of our Forest School focus work......


We have been LOPPING!  We created our own risk assessment after discussing how we should behave around tools.  We listened to each other and came up with some rules. We then went to the willow arch and looked at the branches that would be suitable.  We carefully lopped one off each and discussed how safe we had been!


We will be using the branches for different purposes - the reception children will be making spider webs and the year 1 children will be using the branches to further extend their shape knowledge.





Welcome back after the Christmas break - we are all very excited about our new term ahead.


We will be investigating under the main Enquiry of 'our magical world'.  This will involve exploring the world around us at this time of year and also developing our forest school work.  We will be sending out working together leaflets during w/c 15.1.18 which will give you more information.


We will be continuing with our learning walks each week when we are able to investigate the areas in our learning environment with the knowledge of our own next steps.  We will be discussing how we can challenge ourselves and develop our learning.


This term also includes a class assembly and classroom show around along with a parents evening - again look out for further details





It is all about Christmas!  Our enquiry is developing well and the children have created many things that can support Father Christmas in his busiest time of year.  We have used construction kits to make toy machines, create new homes for the north pole in the outdoor area and in the small block areas.  We have also used the mobilo to create a reindeer - it is fantastic!


We are working very hard with our Christmas cards, calendars, decoration and hats.  What a wonderful time of the year!


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and carers for their support over this term - the children have worked hard and with your continued support will continue to progress over the year.  Thank you all.


Merry Christmas



Our enquiry has moved from the moon to the North Pole. We have decided to try and help Santa with his work over the next two weeks. We are building new sleighs that can go faster and carry even more presents, creating homes that Santa, the Elves and the reindeers can all live in during the Christmas time.  We are creating food for everyone which also includes a carrot pizza - YUM!


The Year 1 children are also very excited as they will be leading the nativity celebrations and have been retelling the story in their literacy sessions.  Reception have been writing Christmas lists and also using positional language to give clues during the hide the santa game.


What a wonderful time of year!

w/c 27.11.17


A working walk took place today to see all the wonderful things that the children have been developing in their Enquiry.  One group had been using their handwriting focus to create a huge rocket and added handwriting patterns around.  A wonderful den was made that enabled baby bear to move around the moon without falling.  The group worked together, listening to the ideas of their friends.  Construction kits have been used to create the workings of the rocket and then writing took place to instruct other people on how to use these and detailed what they were.  The story was retold in the large lego area with added detail to create a more in depth story.  Year one children have been using the aliens to identify real or not real words and reception children have been using the treasure that baby bear found to create words in the phonic area.  The Ipads and construction kits have also been used to create friendly aliens that can help baby bear and the new maths area has been used to teach baby bear the skills of capacity - full, half full and empty, along with shape and number skills.


The children have worked very hard on this enquiry and we will be developing learning through an Ipad story next week.



This week we have continued with our enquiry using the focus of 'Whatever Next'.  We have carried out our learning walk and added to the learning that we had been doing last week.  We have added making space aliens using the Ipads, computers and making tables.  We have also added making a nest for owl in the creative loose part area in the classroom and also creating space stations.  This is in the den making areas, the block areas and also in the small block areas.


We have also been using new equipment that baby bear has sent us - a science kit with test tubes and a challenge of full, half full and empty and also a simple circuit electronic kit where we have been attempting to light bulbs, buzzers and helicopters.


A very busy enquiry week!



Celebrating difference - working with our friends and valuing their ideas and thoughts......


We have been continuing our work on 'Whatever Next' - the story was introduced to the children last week and we have been closely monitoring how they have extended their thinking through the story in the different areas of learning.  This week we started with a learning walk - a walk around the learning environments to see what ways the areas have supported our learning in this story.  The children have then set themselves challenging targets to further develop their thinking through this focus such as:  make a 'zoom to the moon' game in the football area - dribble the ball around the cones and shoot it into the moon (goals) - the children have been scoring in this area - Reception children have been mark making and counting in 1s and the Year 1 children have been using their 10 count to score. 


The mud kitchen will be used to create space food - with the Year 1 children seeing if they can make two different sizes of space food.  The stage area is being used to retell the story and the loose part and community brick areas are to create rockets - Reception will focus on the skills of working together - the Year 1 children will be finding ways to ensure that the structures are safe.  The den making area will be used to create nests for the owl in the story and the water areas used to create a bath time story for baby bear. 


The children are being encouraged to mark make in all areas - some reception children are making signs and the year one children are using it as a basis for writing captions and sentences.


Reception children have been using the story to further develop their comprehension skills in reading and the Year 1 children will be using their understanding of stories to begin to write their own.


A fantastic start - where will the learning lead us next?



A week of explorers


Reception are working on exploring using the story 'Whatever Next'.  They are using the story to investigate where the bear went and what he did.  They will be creating pictures of aliens and food for the alien, along with maps.


Year 1 have started their work on explorers - Christopher Columbus.  They are learning facts about him and how they can support this understanding in their construction areas.



w/c 30.10.17


A very busy week - we are talking about keeping safe during firework night and Halloween. We created firework pictures to start the discussion of keeping safe and what we should do during the different times of the year.  The children have come up with lots of ideas and then looked at how we can ensure that we are safe in our environments.  We talked about using scissors, digging, creating dens and ensuring that all members of the team take responsibility.  The children work very hard on managing their own safety as there are safety spies each day who ensure that the outdoor area is safe to be used.

A very busy end of the half term - an inspiration day to find out all about celebrations.


To find out what we have been doing this week. Follow this link:



A week of investigations for the children in Pine and Elm.


Two different challenges have been set to develop the investigation skills of the classes.


Reception  - investigate parties - using Kipper's Birthday - your challenge is to find out how Kipper celebrates his birthday - what things does he have to do?  What could we create to make our own party?  This will involve writing invitations, cards, creating birthday cakes in the playdough and mud kitchen and also various role play activities.


Year 1 - what can you find out about Florence Nightingale -what was it like to be a nurse in her times?  Is it the same as now?  This will involve writing facts, exploring power points and using various role play situations to develop a deeper understanding.


The children are working well in this new approach and love being investigators - this will continue to be developed over the next term through the Enquiry Based Learning approach and the children will be asked how their investigations will support their next learning.

w/c 2.10.17


We are commencing our work on keeping healthy.  We will be having a visit from a nurse who will work with Year R and Year 1 to discuss ways of keeping healthy and facts about nurses.


Reception are then focussing on the characters in our reading books - we will be reading 'Spots' and discussing the action in the story - what happens at the beginning, in the middle and what happens at the end.  We have also used the five senses book to help us understand how wonderful our bodies are.  We have then taken part in a texture investigation - ask us what we felt!


Year 1 will then be looking at the life of Florence Nightingale.  We will be identifying different facts about her and then using this information in our writing.  We are also beginning to write on lines - it is a bit tricky but we will keep on trying!



Design and Technology Week

We are continuing with our focus text 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear'.


This week we are looking at different ways of making homes for Brown Bear.


Reception have started by creating a class home for the bear.  They have discussed what is needed to be used to join the materials.  Some sellotape was not sticky enough so we used string.  We then found masking tape which we used as well.  We then discussed what Brown Bear would need - windows, a door, a bed, some food, a bath and shower, a toy box - the list was endless.  After working on the main house together we then continued with this focus in our busy learning times.


Year one have been working in their groups using reclaimed materials.  They have discussed how high the walls need to be and what materials would be best to create windows.  They have then worked on strengthening the structure.



This week we are using Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? As our focus text.  This is then developing how they look at things around them.


Reception are using the text to enable them to focus on looking carefully at their world around them.  We have collected snails and are watching them closely!  We will also be colour mixing and using the expertise of the year 1 children in our role play situations.  We have linked to the Enquiry of 'People who help us' by finding out about Kipper from our new books and creating our own All about me books.



Year 1 are focusing on looking at their local environment - we have been introducing 'bird's eye view' to the children and they have been drawing objects in this way.  They have also been investigating their local environment and are linking this to the overall Enquiry of 'People who help us'.  In the outdoor area the children have used available resources to create a Fish and Chip Shop!  They have been writing menus, lists, creating the shop and working together to ensure that every aspect is covered!  WOW!



A very informative week!  We have been investigating similarities and differences, continuing from our work on our all about me boxes.  This week we have been looking at appearance.  We have then created our own self portraits for our classroom displays.


Reception - we have been looking at our eye and hair colour, the shape of our faces and the colours that we need.  We have then played guess who - trying to identify who we are thinking of by giving clues as to the hair colour and eye colours.  


Year 1 - we have linked this self portrait work with a study of an artist - Van Gogh.  We have learnt how closely you have to look to get the details correct.  We have mixed the colours for our face colour and then looked in more detail at the features we need to create.  We have seen the whites of our eyes and discussed how we will represent these in our paintings.



A fantastic start to the new academic year!  Well done everyone.


Reception have been finding out about the new routine of their school and sharing their all about me boxes with their friends.  We are all very excited to learn about each other and discuss our likes and dislikes.  We have also had a short physical session which involved us listening very hard to instructions and then having fun!


Year one have been using their all about me boxes as a basis for their writing.  They have been writing labels and then extending these into descriptive sentences.  Again they have loved sharing their likes and interests with their friends and use the boxes as a starting point for paired discussions.


A fantastic start to the new term!