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Penguins Class

Class News Autumn Term 2022


Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome to the first class email for Penguins class as we start a brand new school year. There is going to be such much to look forward to over the coming weeks and months and I am excited to be working with your children alongside the other members of staff in Key Stage One.

I am sure your children have spoken with you about lots of the things we have been doing but I can expand on that so you know what we will be focusing on throughout the coming weeks. Firstly, the children had an amazing first week in school after what sounds like a lovely summer break for all. They were all keen to share their experiences and adventures with the class, which was a lovely way to get to know each other. I must say I am so impressed with how well the Year 1 children have settled into life in Key Stage One and mostly with a big smile on their faces! There will, of course, be times when school life can feel overwhelming to the children, but I can assure you that once the day has started, the children soon settle and enjoy the opportunities throughout the day. I have loved being able to get to know them over the first two weeks and I am excited to be their class teacher for the year ahead.

We started as we mean to go on with going straight into our Read Write Inc (phonics and English groups) and you should have received a letter explaining what group your child is in and how the reading books are organised. The children are familiar with the routines of these lessons so were able to get stuck in straight away which was amazing. We also organised the children into their Mathematics groups at the end of the first week. This may mean that they move from room to room throughout the mornings and work with other adults; Mrs Braithwaite, Miss Westrope, Miss Slough, Miss Doherty or Miss Cross. The children soon know the routines and are familiar with where they need to go and when. 

We have also started to think about the curriculum in other subject areas with our brand new topics, which has been great. Our focus in Geography for this half term is ‘Animals around the world’ which involves learning the seven continents of the world, the five oceans, looking at the climate and how animals adapt to their environment, learning about hibernation and migration and focusing on animals native to each continent. We have navigated our way around a world map and atlas to identify some of the places we will ‘visit’ in our lessons. 

Dinosaurs are the focus of our learning in History and this is always a popular topic with children being thoroughly engaged in their learning about the great beasts that roamed the world long before us. We will identify dinosaurs from different periods; identifying where they lived and how we know about them through the discovery of fossils and bones. We will also learn about a significant person from the past – Mary Anning and all that she discovered in England.

Art and Design Technology topics will run throughout the whole term, so right up to Christmas with Art looking at ‘Animal art’ and developing skills with sketching, shading and patterns. We have already had a go at sketching animals native to Britain. In Design and Technology we will be spending our time exploring mechanisms (levers and sliders) to create moving pictures. 

Our PE sessions are planned around the children having two full hours a week (due to timetabling the use of the Hall your child’s two sessions may be on the same day; as per the stickers they received last Friday). We have an amazing sports coach; Miss Klausner who is working with the children in some of these sessions to develop ball skills and Indoor Athletics. 

Each week we award Perfect Penguin on a Friday to someone in the class to take home for the week. This is given to someone who has worked incredibly hard all week, overcome difficulties or gone above and beyond to support those around them. Last week’s winner was Reggie and this week is Annabelle.

So as you can imagine there are many things happening in school already and lots more to come. Well done to all of the children for all they have achieved already in the past two weeks – they have all been incredible. I hope you have a lovely restful weekend with your families.

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Miss Doherty xx 


Dear Parents and Carers

How are we at the end of week four already? It feels like we have been together for longer than that and it is so lovely to see how well all of the children have jelled as a group. They are all incredible as individuals and even better as a class group and I know we are all going to enjoy the year ahead. The children have enjoyed being able to get involved in everything that is on offer and have been able to navigate themselves (and their personal belongings) around from place to place throughout the day with only the odd stray water bottle and pencil case to find! This is a great opportunity for the children to develop their independent skills and it is clear that they are already well on their way with this.

Our learning is in full swing in Penguins class and the children are being given the opportunity to extend their thinking in lots of different ways. Our Science is all about animals, including humans and over the past fortnight we have learned about the sense of hearing and have been able to explore sounds around us and how we hear sounds and how we know where sounds are coming from. We enjoyed going for a little ‘sound walk’ to see what we could hear. 

In Geography we have continued finding out about where in the world animals live and the climates they live in. We have had lots of practise of using maps and atlases to find our way round the world; identifying the seven continents as well as warm and cold places. This week we have also been introduced to some new vocabulary – hibernation and migration and what both of these words mean. 

In History we have continued to think about the amazing world of dinosaurs – building timelines and starting to think about the theories of extinction. Hopefully when we go on our first trip of the year on Monday to the Natural History Museum we will be able to enrich our learning even further. I am sure the children are very excited about starting next week with this experience. 

As we start a new school year it is really important to consider our feelings and emotions so we have spent time each week in our PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) trying to understand a range of different emotions and how these might make us feel. We try to use real life scenarios to help children understand how and why we feel the way we do. The children are great at being able to talk about the way they feel which we support through discussions in circle time and also through the use of stories. These link in with our whole school value of the half term – love and friendship. 

My particular favourite lesson over the past two weeks was an art lesson where we learned about the technique for shading known as cross hatching. This is where the children use lines in opposite directions to shade images. We practised this to explore the different ways this could be done before using cross hatching to shade an outline of a penguin. The outcomes of this were amazing and all of the children thoroughly enjoyed this activity; with the penguins now taking pride of place in the corridor on display. 

We have been trying really hard to access the chromebooks in our computing sessions although logging on has proved challenging for some of us. If at all possible, please can the children practise typing their log in and password for accessing google classroom at home. These are the details they use to access the chromebooks in school and this requires regular practise and confidence. As you know we are also actively encouraging the use of TT Rock Stars for Year 2 children and Numbots for Year 1 children so please support this at home and allow the children to log in to their accounts with increased independence. 

Just a quick reminder that homework is set each week on Google classroom and will be set by their phonics group teacher. Engagement in homework is monitored and actively encouraged with children being rewarded in school for their efforts. If you require any support with accessing this then please let us know and we will be happy to help. Daily reading is also advised with children reading their reading books at home to develop fluency. 

If your child is in Miss. Slough's group for English (Hummingbirds) please can you make sure they have their reading book in their bag with them every day. I know this can be tricky so I would encourage them to get into the habit of putting it straight back in their book bag after they have read it. Thank you for your support with this.

Finally, our handwriting hero and heroine for the past two weeks are Alicja and Benjamin P, Charlie and Alexa. Perfect Penguin has been awarded to Charlie and Neri. Well done to everyone for being fabulous. Have a great weekend and we will see you all on Monday for our special trip!

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Miss Doherty xxx 


Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome to the end of another Friday…the weeks are certainly flying by and we are fast approaching the end of the first half term. It is hard to believe that the children have only been together as a group for six weeks; they have all made great progress in so many areas and I already feel incredibly proud of each and every one of them. I hope you found the parent review meeting useful; it was lovely to see so many of you and share your child’s achievements with you. 

Next week and the week following half term we will be completing a range of assessment tasks with the children to see where we can continue to move forward with your child’s learning in reading, writing and mathematics. These are nothing to be concerned about, but help us to recognise where we can continue to support your child with their learning. You should be receiving information about your child’s Read Write Inc group during next week which will inform you of which group they will be working within following the half term break. This is only for the children who are accessing this programme for Phonics. Alternative assessments will be completed for the children working outside of this.

Reflecting on the past couple of weeks; the highlight has to have been taking the children to London to the Natural History Museum….somewhere that many of the children in the key stage have never visited, so it was lovely to experience this with the children. We visited the museum on a very busy day but the children were absolutely fantastic; a real asset to the school – listening carefully, following instructions and immersing themselves in all of the amazing things to see and explore. The main focus for our trip was to complement our History topic of ‘Dinosaurs’ and it did not fail to impress us. Being able to see real life fossils and appreciate the great history of the world of dinosaurs really helped bring history to life. 

We plan to organise other ‘magic moment’ experiences for the children to engage in throughout the year to enrich their classroom based learning, so watch this space for information about other trips and visits we have in the pipeline. 

As we go into the second half of the Autumn term our subject topics will change to allow for a broad and balanced curriculum. I will share these with you following the half term break, but in the meantime we will be working hard to complete our current topics in History, Geography, PSHE, Computing, Science, PE, Music but Art and DT (Design and Technology) will continue after the break. The children have enjoyed exploring a range of ‘moving pictures’ in books to support their DT learning; using the mice cutters to create their own sliding picture using a dinosaur. The plan is that we will be able to create a class book using the skills we have been taught.

I have to say that the children have been absolutely amazing in their Music lessons over the past couple of weeks; we have some really talented musicians amongst us; demonstrating a superb recognition of pulse and learning and performing a selection of songs. I have really enjoyed seeing the creative side of the class and we definitely have some contenders for performing arts in Penguins class.

As we enter the final week there are always lots of things to reflect on and celebrate as well as plan for the half term to come, which I am excited to experience alongside the children; they are an absolute pleasure but I know they are all ready for a well-deserved rest over the break. To finish, just a couple of things to mention. A massive well done to our handwriting hero and heroine Teddy T and Lydia and a big well done to our Perfect Penguins Emily H and Myra.

Have a great final week and half term break and thank you for your continued support.

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Miss Doherty xxx

PS – homework this week and over half term can be accessed on Google Classroom.


Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back! I hope you all had a lovely half term break with your families. The children were very excited to share their adventures and experiences when they returned to school on Tuesday. They are very lucky children to be able to have such lovely things to do.

The children returned all refreshed and appear ready for their learning journey to continue which is great news. There are going to be many things for them to experience in school during this half term (one of my favourites as we approach Christmas)! Crazy how quickly time flies. We of course have the festive celebrations to look forward to but also some great learning opportunities planned too.

In History this half term we will be focusing on Remembrance Day; the story behind it and the ways we remember such a significant event and the brave men and women who fought for us. There will be information coming out shortly regarding a walk in our local area to visit the war memorial in Priory Gardens.

This will link in nicely with our Geography topic for this half term – it will focus on ‘Where we Live’ so finding out about our local area and what it is like; including where we live.

Art will continue to focus on ‘Animal Art’ and developing skills to create sketches on native British animals and DT (Design and Technology) will continue with our ‘Moving Pictures’ topic; exploring, designing and creating sliders and levers.

Our morning PE lessons which take place in Maths groups will be learning a winter dance and our afternoon class PE will be developing ball skills and games. Please ensure your child is in school in their PE kits on the relevant days (revised timetable was sent out earlier this week).

As I said earlier this is one of my favourite half terms as there is always so many things going on to enrich school life and we at Lark Rise like to embrace all the different special events whenever we can. Just so you know in advance we will be participating in the national ‘Anti Bullying Week’ which runs from 14th-18th November with an ‘Odd Socks Day’ (normal uniform) on the Monday (14th) to kick start the week. There will be another dress up day on Monday 21st November with a theme of ‘Rockstars’ to support Maths week which runs alongside Anti Bullying week. Of course there is also Children in Need on Friday 18th November. Lots of things to remember, but all great things to be involved in.

Our whole school value for this half term is tolerance and it will be great to be able to share stories with the children to help them understand what tolerance means and how we can show this in everyday life when faced with different challenges and situations. Please support this where you can at home too.

I saw so many amazing examples of ‘random acts of kindness’ through the half term homework. These are all amazing examples that demonstrate how our children show kindness and behave towards others which definitely put a smile on my face when we returned to school. Well done everyone; remember kindness costs nothing. I have printed the pictures off to show everyone just how kind you all are! I have also added these to our class PSHE book so you can look back and show your friends.

Thank you to all of the children for a great first week back; it has been a pleasure being your teacher and I know you have all tried so hard. Finally, to celebrate, Perfect Penguin has been awarded to Benjamin P and Callan well done.

Have a great weekend and see you all on Monday

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Miss Doherty xx 


Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome to the end of another busy and fun packed fortnight in Penguins class where we have continued to love learning.

Where do I start…. we have crammed a lot of amazing things into the past two weeks including a super walk to visit our local war memorial in Priory Gardens. The children were able to link in their Geography learning on the way there and back and consider many human and physical features. We could also spot familiar places and talk about what we knew about these places. It is great to be able to be out and about exploring what is around us. On arrival at the war memorial the children were all incredibly respectful and listened carefully when we talked about the significance of it and how people had come to pay their respects and lay poppy wreaths for us to look at. A great way to bring our Remembrance Day learning back into the classroom with our key enquiry question being ‘why do people wear poppies?’.

Through our learning in PSHE we have been able to think about how we can make people feel and have linked this to our behaviour, considering how the way we feel can make our behaviour change at different times. We were able to explore this through using a variety of scenarios and think about how we might deal with different situations and what we can do to help people who might be struggling. We have also used these sessions to think carefully about the people who are special to us and how we can let them know how we feel about them. Some great opportunities to spend time thinking about those around us and to talk about our own thoughts and feelings.

This week we have been able to join in with activities linked to Anti Bullying Week which this year has a theme of ‘Reach Out’  - talking about ways we can reach out for support for ourselves and those around us should bullying be an issue. The children loved having their odd socks on show on Monday and our assembly with Mrs Lang at the start of the week emphasised the importance of accepting difference through the use of a story called ‘Troll Stinks’.

We have covered many activities linked to Science over the past two weeks with a special visit from some animals last week! We had Miss Slough’s dog, Bertie, Miss Steven’s turtle, Winston Turtle and Mrs Langford’s parakeet, Jasmin come in for a visit to support the children’s understanding of what we need to do to keep pets healthy. The children were able to share some of their own experiences of owning pets and could recognise the need for water, food, exercise, shelter and clean air as the main things they would need. We also explored the school grounds with a focus on seasonal changes and noticed how the trees around us have changed, with leaves either changing colour or falling – a true sign of Autumn. We will continue to make observations throughout the year and recognise all of the changes that happen throughout the seasons.

Our Music this half term has started off well – the children are always keen to join in with the warm up exercises we use to start our Music lessons and then join in with learning ‘rhythm in the way we walk’ and ‘banana rap’. Our Music will also be developed through practising songs for our forthcoming Christmas performance! Yes, we are already planning this as we only have a matter of weeks before sharing it with you all so watch this space for information around this! The children are incredibly excited about this opportunity as for some this is the first time they will be able to shine in a Christmas production! I am sure you will be as excited to see this as the children will be to perform for you all.

What better way to finish the week than with Children in Need and all things Pudsey today! The children all looked amazing, so well done parents and carers for supporting this great cause. Don’t forget Monday is ‘Rock Star Day’ to support Maths week that has been running this week and to promote the use of TTRockstars and Numbots for children’s fluency and recall of multiplication and number facts. I look forward to seeing the children on Monday!

Finally, well done to Alicja and Aria for being our Perfect Penguins over the past two weeks. A great achievement, but as always I am proud of every single one of you and all that you achieve each day in school.

Have a fabulous weekend and see you Monday.

Love from Mrs Hartley, Mrs Braithwaite and Miss Doherty xxx