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Penguins Class

Class News Autumn Term 2021


Dear Parents and Carers

Hello and welcome to the very first Penguins Class email of this academic year! I always look forward to writing the fortnightly email so we can share with you all of the things we have been doing in the classroom. Already we have been super busy little Penguins and have covered so much in the first two weeks.

I have to say the children have been absolutely fantastic; settling in brilliantly and adjusting to the routines of Key Stage One. A particularly huge well done to all of the children who have joined us in Year 1 from Reception. You have all been amazing as we know how different it is to what you are used to. However, there have been lots of positive changes for all of the children across the school as we have started the new school year and we, as teachers have been delighted to see this over the last couple of weeks. We have all been able to collect together, almost daily, for whole school assemblies, which has been lovely. We have also been able to use our freshly painted Eatery to eat our packed lunches or hot dinners, which some children have never experienced before. We have been able to mix with other children from across the school, which feels almost ‘normal’ and it has been so lovely to see the school ‘come alive’ again. 

We have so many things to look forward to throughout this half term – our revised curriculum opportunities where children will focus on subject topics; rather than our half termly themes. Over the first half term in Key Stage One we will be learning about the following in our afternoon foundation subjects:

History – Toys: Past and Present

Geography – Going on Safari (focusing on Kenya)

Art – Aboriginal Art

Design and Technology – Moving Mini beasts 

I hope that the children have been coming home and talking about some of the things they have learnt in the classroom already. They particularly enjoyed looking at some old toys that appeared in our classroom. We have even had some come in from home for us to look at, which is great. If you are able to send in any old toys that you used to play with (or grandparents) then we would love to see them.

As you are aware Physical Education is a priority across our curriculum in school so we are pleased to be able to offer two hours of dedicated time for this. One of the sessions will be in your child’s base class (always a Wednesday afternoon) and the other session will be when they are in their Maths groups (due to timetabling the Hall for all of the other classes to be able to use). Hopefully your child came home with a sticker last Friday which detailed their 2nd day of PE. If you are unsure about this then please ask at the end of the day.

The children have been amazing at moving around the Key Stage for different learning opportunities; sometimes moving for Mathematics and Phonics lessons. They are also really organised (mostly) and remember their belongings; water bottles and pencil cases! Pencil cases will be sent home each Friday for checking the contents and sharpening pencils etc so they are ready for the start of the week on a Monday. 

Homework will be set each Friday on Education City with Mathematics and English (or Phonics) activities allocated on alternating weeks. Please can children also be accessing Numbots (Year 1) and TTRockstars (Year 2) as often as possible to support the development of accuracy and fluency with number facts. The children will also be using these daily in school and any support with this at home is greatly appreciated. You will have received information regarding the ‘GoRead’ app which has been launched this week and it’s great that so many of you are using this to log your child’s reading at home. You will also notice that books shared/read in school are also logged on here. We will use the information from the GoRead app to acknowledge when reading has been completed at home in order to change their book in school. This can be done daily if logged by an adult at home. 

Our perfect penguin award has been given to Charlie and Harleigh....well done you two! Handwriting hero and heroine has been awarded to Aaryav and Alicja.

Finally, just to say I am looking forward to working with you, as parents and your children throughout the next year – I think it is going to be a good one! Have a lovely weekend with your families and see you all on Monday morning.

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Mrs Phillips xxx 


Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome to the end of a very busy fortnight in Penguins class. We have been working so hard it seems hard to believe we are at the end of week 4 already! The children have done so well and it already feels like we have been together for a lot longer. I can see that the days can feel long for some of the younger children in Year 1, but their resilience continues to improve as we work through the afternoons!

Our afternoons have been filled with many learning opportunities, ranging from Geography, to History, to Art and Design and Technology. We throw in two sessions of Physical Education each week as well as Computing, Religious Education (RE), Personal, Social, Health Education and Music so there is always so much happening each day.

Key learning experiences over the past fortnight have seen us ‘travel’ to Kenya to ‘go on safari’. We were able to look at a world map, identify the seven continents, locate Kenya and then look at what we might find there if we visited. Some of the Year 2 children were able to recall learning from last year based on climate and location, which was great. We also looked at the flag of Kenya and found out what each of the colours on the flag represents. I wonder if they can remember? In History we have continued to look at toys (past and present) and we are looking forward to our little trip next week to Wardown Museum to see if we can spot any toys there. We had a go at playing some traditional games this week outside and also making a thaumatrope, which was good fun. Our Art session last week introduced children to the traditions of Aboriginal Art and looked at some of the symbols that are seen and recreated these; which I have to say, were great. We definitely have some budding artists in the class this year. In Design and Technology (DT) we found out about sliding mechanisms and made our own moving picture. The children loved this and are keen to use the ‘mice cutters’ again.

Our Science has been based on animals and living things and this week we focused on how animals get their food and the differences between wild animals and pets. The children enjoyed talking about their own pets and what they need each day. Some of the children chose to bring home a recipe for making dog biscuits – if anyone has made them we would love to see some pictures.

We also had our ‘Pobble Day’ this week which was a great success and it is always a good way to re-launch Pobble and inspire our children to be published authors; having their work published online. This year our hook was superheroes and the children loved being able to create their own superhero. Whilst thinking about English – our class key text at the moment is a great story ‘The Penguin who wanted to find out’, which we are enjoying reading together in the class. Thank you to all of you who are logging your child’s reading efforts on the GoRead app at home; it is so good to see so many of the children reading.

We are keen to share with you the books your child is reading in school and would also like to be kept up to date with your child's reading habits at home. If you haven't already, we encourage you to download the Go read app, called GoAppsParent on the app store, enter your child's details sent out to you on the letter previously, watch the webinar https://go-read.co.uk/parents/ to learn how to use the app easily including for more than one child. Children will then be able to collect gems which they can trade in for virtual cards every time they read and log books which motivates them to continue reading and logging books. 

Just a couple of messages to finish this week’s email:

  • Please remember to access your child’s weekly homework on Education City (log in details for all online learning platforms were sent out last week). We do check each week to see who has been accessing and activities set are closely linked to classroom based learning.
  • If you have any old toys that we can have a look at in the classroom then we would love to see them and promise to look after them!
  • Pencil cases come home every Friday for checking and re-stocking. Please can these be checked to ensure your child is fully equipped for learning in the classroom. Thank you J
  • Please make sure that earrings are removed (or taped at home) on your child’s PE days and hair is tied back.
  • As the weather begins to change please can all items be named (coats, jumpers, PE tops etc)
  • Our handwriting hero and heroine award has been given to Oliver, Ella, Jasper and Aria.
  • Our weekly Perfect Penguin has been awarded to Aaryav and Pelle well done to you all.

Finally, have a lovely weekend with your families and we will see you all on Monday morning.

Take care, love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Mrs Phillips


Dear Parents and Carers

Can you believe that this will be the last Penguins class email before we break for the half term holiday? Where did the last six weeks go?

As always, we have continued to be extremely busy in Penguins class over the past fortnight; immersing ourselves in our learning and continuing to be amazing every day! It has been so lovely being able to get to know all of the children better during this first half term and a particular highlight for me was being able to actually take the children out of school on what is for some, their first trip with the school! There was so much excitement before we left; the mini bus journey was incredible and the children thoroughly enjoyed being able to explore the museum at Wardown Park with their friends and adults. It was so lovely for us as staff to be able to plan this for the children after not being able to do so for nearly two years! Fingers crossed we have many more out of school opportunities in the future.

We have continued to develop our skills in many areas over the past fortnight. From making spinning tops in History to creating our own Aboriginal art on handprints. The children have loved all of it J we also spent some time creating our own min-beast slider mechanism, based on our previous work in Design and Technology and our own design ideas. Some of us realised that sometimes things don’t always work out as we plan, but with some determination and resilience we can overcome anything! We have developed so many different skills in all of our subjects – getting quicker at logging our details on to the Chromebooks and TTRockstars or Numbots (although continued practise will make ‘perfect’)! We have worked hard on our cutting skills using both scissors and mice cutters, we have worked with our peers to be able to improve our ball skills in Physical Education; as well as working within a team and supporting each other. We have been able to refine our knowledge of the world and use maps to locate different places; identifying the seven continents of the world (I wonder how many can be recalled)?!

In Science we have worked hard when learning about Animals and Living things (including humans); finding out about how animals might get what they need to survive when living in varying environments, finding out about different birds and how and where they build their nest and lay their eggs. This also linked in nicely with our whole school biology week last week, where we focused on plants. The children enjoyed being able to explore some different plants and then do some planting in our class.

It was lovely to see so many of you for our parent review meeting last night; meeting some of you for the first time and being able to talk with you about how well the children have all settled into ‘penguin life’.

Finally, we always like to celebrate the children’s achievements so well done to our Perfect Penguins for the past two weeks; Ella and Kornel. Also a big well done for efforts in handwriting for Sam, Elizabeth, Freya and Leo.

The children have had a brilliant start to the academic year, so well done to everyone. Have a lovely weekend with your families and see you all on Monday for the final week before half term.

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Mrs Phillips xx 


Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back to the start of a new half term (usually my personal favourite with Christmas at the end)! The children have all returned to school well rested after their half term break (which I hope you all enjoyed as much as the children did) and seem settled and ready to learn. It didn’t take long to re-establish the normal rules and routines to the school day; so well done to you all.

There are lots of lovely things for the children to look forward to during the half term ahead – both learning opportunities as well as seasonal activities (fireworks, autumn crafts, Christmas crafts, remembrance day) and we can’t wait to get started! This week has seen us start to think about a couple of historical events – the first one being bonfire night and traditions surrounding this after watching a great assembly from Mrs Tree on Tuesday morning. The children already knew lots of information about Guy Fawkes and couldn’t wait to share their own experiences within the group. The second historical event has formed part of our History learning (and English as well) and that is the Great Fire of London and starting to think about events around this and how it happened. I was amazed at how much some of the children knew already!

We have also started a new topic in Geography called ‘My World and Me’ and for the next few weeks we will be learning all about Ecuador and making comparisons between here and where we live; finding places on maps, comparing climates and capital cities and finding out about traditions as well.

In Physical Education we will be continuing with some of our ball skills; making the most of the outdoor space while we can with the drier weather. The children love their PE lessons and I love teaching them and really seeing the children challenging themselves and encouraging others. Our morning sessions are hall based and we will be learning winter dance; which I know the children are going to love.

Our Design and Technology and Art lessons will continue on from the previous half term; understanding and exploring Aboriginal art and using some traditional techniques. We will also be continuing with moving mini beasts in DT; using sliding mechanisms and designing our own products using levers. These are subjects that all children thoroughly enjoy and we definitely see their creative sides coming out in these sessions.

The biggest change for us this half term is the implementation across the school of our new Phonics teaching program, which we are all very excited about and have been working very hard behind the scenes to get this up and running for the children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. As you are aware Phonics is a huge priority for us to ensure all children are able to develop phonics skills to unlock their reading potential and we feel that our new scheme, Read Write Inc is the best way to unlock this for our children. All of the adults have now received training in delivering this programme and we are now delivering as part of your child’s daily diet of learning. There will be more information coming out to you, as parents in the coming weeks, including some parent and carer training.

Thank you to all of you who have checked your child’s pencil case supplies over the half term break; ensuring your child is ready to learn. If you are able to check them each weekend when they are sent home this would be great. It helps the children be ready for their activities if they are equipped with the appropriate resources.

As it is getting colder now, please can you make sure any additional items of clothing (coats, hats, scarves, gloves) are clearly named so we can make sure your child comes home with all of their belongings! We would also recommend coats and jackets every day now in school as the weather becomes more unpredictable.

Well done to the winners of Perfect Penguin - Elizabeth and Callan; great work!

Lunchtime football club (that has run previously) will not be running for the foreseeable future.

All of the children are going to need an empty cereal box or tissue box later in the half term for one of our activities; please can you send any you may have in over the next couple of weeks?

Finally, I would like to say if you are out and about over the weekend enjoying the fireworks, enjoy but remember to stay safe! The children will remember some of the messages about this from our assembly at the start of the week.

Have a lovely, restful weekend

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Mrs Phillips xxx 


Dear Parents and Carers

Here we are at the end of another fortnight in Penguins class; time seems to be flying by! It is hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of November, but hopefully we will be able to squeeze in lots of different activities and opportunities between now and then for all of the children. As always, the children have all been incredible and have taken on everything that has been offered. We have been busy working through our topics for the half term, which have been successful and enjoyed by all.

The children have continued to enjoy learning about The Great Fire of London; this week finding out about the importance of Samuel Pepys diary in informing us about some momentous events in history. Last week they were able to use pictures to be able to sequence the events of the great fire accurately and I have been amazed at how well the children have retained facts from previous learning; well done everyone.

In Science we have been looking at different objects, identifying their material and also exploring to see which materials are bendy, water resistant and whether we can twist them to make them into a different shape. We will be using our science lessons over the next few weeks to focus on seasonal changes as the weather changes and winter approaches.

Through our Geography learning we have been able to use our knowledge of the world to identify and find Ecuador on a world map and we look forward to being able to find out more about the country in the coming weeks and also making comparisons to where we live.

Our Maths week last week was a huge success and the children loved being able to use maths in different ways; even creating and performing a times table song along with the children across the school. Raising the profile of mathematics is important to engage all children in developing their skills with number – for our children in Key Stage One, this is helped through accessing Numbots and TTRockstars as often as possible to improve accuracy and fluency.

The implementation of Read Write Inc has started successfully and the children are already able to follow the sequence within a lesson and work alongside their peers to further improve their phonics knowledge. Within the next fortnight assessments will be completed on each child to place them in their homogenous book groups, which is very exciting and the children will be bringing home some exciting new resources to support them with their fluency in reading. More information and training will be available for this in due course.

A highlight for us was definitely having a visit from an extremely knowledgeable visitor on Wednesday from ‘Life in the Rainforest’. He brought a range of exotic and unusual animals to our school hall and we were able to listen to fascinating facts, see them and also hold and touch some of them! What an experience for the children and I know they all loved being involved in this.

You will be receiving lots of information over the coming weeks about some of the plans across school as we approach Christmas (which we are all very excited about) so we hope to be able to see you in school for different events soon. The first one will be an opportunity for you to be able to come and see your child’s books in the classroom next Wednesday (24th). If you are able to attend between 3.30 and 4.30 we would love to see you. You will be able to come into the classroom once all of the children have departed; so please wait in the collection area and we will invite you in as soon as we can.

The children have worked really hard over the past two weeks, but I would like to say a big well done to Alex, Rachel, Emily and Thomas for being awarded handwriting hero and heroine and also Felicity and Izzy for being our Perfect Penguins – well done to everyone; keep trying your best.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and see you on Monday

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Mrs Phillips xx