This week in RE we have been thinking about places that are special to us.
We decided a special place could be used for lots of different occasions. It might be somewhere that helps us to feel calm, somewhere we can go when we want to be on our own, a place to go when we are feeling a bit cross or angry and also somewhere with other people.
We all had different special places, and some of us had more than 1 place. Here are some of our ideas.
How to support at home
- Identify special places at home and when out and about. Talk about how they can help us at different times and when we might like to visit them.
- Discuss special places that different religious people visit e.g. church, synagogue, temple.
- Look out for places of worship when out and about, talk about why people visit them.
What We’ll Build
This week in PSHE we have been thinking about our own goals for the new year. For this, we began our lesson in a circle time with the book ‘What We’ll Build’ by Oliver Jeffers. This beautifully illustrated book is a tale of a father and daughter laying the foundations of their lives together. Using their own special tools, they get to work building their own memories to cherish, a home to keep them safe and love to keep them warm and full of happiness.
We spent time discussing how we want to build our own futures and how we want to achieve those future goals. Then, we set to work building our own ‘GOAL’ display! We thought hard about what goals we have for ourselves. Some of us thought of our reading or writing, and others thought about our own friendships and actions.
After we had written our own goals, we set to work adding it to our large display. We were very excited to see it up! You can see in the pictures the end result, we were very impressed with ourselves!
Welcome BackIt was lovely to see so many smiling faces back at school on Wednesday morning. There was lots of excitement to see our friends again and share news about our holidays.Year 2 have been keen and eager to get straight on with their learning this term.In our Mastering Number sessions we have been continuing to work on using numbers flexibly and fluently. A new learning tool called a rekenrek has arrived in school and we have enjoyed exploring it and learning how we can use it to help us. We are already good at remembering to move the beads back to the ready position each time and using one push to show different numbers.
In science we have been learning about materials. We started by retrieving some of our year 1 learning. We remembered that an object is a thing or a noun and a material is something an object is made from. We also remembered the names of different materials and some words we could use to describe their properties.Here we are using our year 1 materials knowledge organisers, materials and magnifying glasses to help us with our retrieval.
Then we used our knowledge of materials and their properties to decide whether materials were suitable for a different purposes.
How to support at home
- Encourage your child to use numbots regularly at home – it really does help and we can tell during maths lessons who has been using it regularly.
- Talk about numbers throughout the day e.g. when setting the table, how many knives and forks do we need? How do you know? When shopping, how can we use the coins to make 50p. Is there another way we could do it?
- Use scientific vocabulary in everyday conversation e.g. when cleaning up a spilt drink discuss what could be used to mop up the liquid using the word absorbent.
We have been overcome this week with excitement for Christmas! I’m sure lots of Year two children have come home this week abuzz with festive spirit. The classrooms have fueled our excitement even more, which you can see in these pictures of our advent calendars, Christmas walls and trees!
We were very busy this week in our Christmas crafting! In fact, I think we have plenty of special crafts to bring home to share with you! First, we made our Christmas cards. Then, we have been very artistic using our pointillism skills to create our 2022 calendar. Finally, we were very lucky to have the Friends of Merry Hill organise a magical time in Santa’s Grotto which we all found very exciting. He gave us some presents and we made reindeer food!
In some of the classrooms we have been enjoying our Elf on the Shelf! He has been causing mischief in the classroom, one day he took away our playtime and another he even stole a beloved class bear Cherry! We were not very impressed with that behaviour but certainly found it hilarious nevertheless.
Overall, we have had a very festive time in Year 2! Sending a big Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all Year 2 staff.
Great Fire of London Carts
This half term we have been learning all about vehicles, the parts they are made from and how they are made. This is because we wanted to make our own carts that could carry our belongings away in case there’s ever a ‘Great Fire of Bushey’.
We were very interested to learn about Kiichiro Toyoda and how he first got in to car manufacturing. We particularly enjoyed watching videos that showed car manufacturing in action.
Once we knew how to make a car we came up with our design criteria and thought about what we would like our vehicle to look like.
Finally it was time to make the bodies of our vehicles. This took time and care but our teachers were really proud of us for working so hard and not giving up even when it was a bit tricky. We were also really good at helping each other, sometimes we needed one person to hold the parts in place whilst another person glued or taped it together.
Once the body was made we added the axles and wheels. We encountered a few problems that needed solving, including how to get the wheels to stay on the axle, but were really good at coming up with different solutions to try.
Once our carts were finished we enjoyed testing them out to check they met our design criteria.
Have a look on Seesaw to see our evaluations of our carts.
As you may know, this term in our Time Travellers topic we have been learning all about the Great Fire of London. In Giraffe’s and Bears we are very lucky to have a fiery display and last week we had the awesome opportunity to add to our class display by crafting our very own burning houses!
Then, we had a brilliant idea to design some vehicles that we thought might help us in the Great Fire of London. So, it all began on the computer program Purple Mash where we had a technical time designing the net that would make our trucks! We thought hard about the dimensions and which parts of the net would make up which part of the truck.
After our designing was complete, we then had plenty of fun cutting out the template. Lots of us had to think really hard about our cutting skills! Then, we were able to fold the net and start building our very own cars. We began to let the mechanic in us shine as we went hard to work building the body of the car.
We are so excited for next week – we will be attaching wheels and axles to our vehicles! Our engines are rumbling with excitement to take our trucks on a race track!
Greater than and fewer than
This week in Maths we have been using ‘greater’ and ‘fewer’ to compare 2 digit numbers. We started by thinking about other words that mean the same as greater than and fewer than.
Our teachers wanted us to explain how we knew which number was greater than or fewer than. We decided we could explain by comparing the number of tens and ones in our numbers.
We took our learning outside and used natural materials to make each number using tens and ones. Then compared our numbers using our mathematical vocabulary.
Have a look on Seesaw to see some more videos of our reasoning.
How to support at home:
- Notice numbers in the natural environment – what do you know about them? Discuss the place value of each digit in the numbers you find e.g. 54 is made of 5 tens and 4 ones. How could you regroup the number? e.g. 50 + 4 = 54, 40 + 14 = 54.
- Use objects from around the room to represent tens and ones and use them to create 2 digit numbers.
- Use mathematical language, such as greater than and fewer than in everyday situations.
- Encourage your child to play Numbots regularly.
We have been working really hard to improve our handwriting this half term.
Every morning when we come in to school we put our things away and then sit at our tables to get going. We have been making sure that we start and finish our letters in the correct place and thinking about the size of the letters in relation to each other.
Look how lovely some of our handwriting is getting.
How to support at home
- Make sure your child arrives at school on time – handwriting happens between 8.45 and 9am each day.
- Watch your child as they complete their weekly handwriting homework – this is important as it ensures they are using the correct formation.
- Find opportunities for your children to write for a purpose e.g. shopping lists, birthday/ Christmas cards, notes for family members.
National Tree Week
This week in Mini Explorers, we have been celebrating National Tree Week. This is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration when lots of volunteers around the country are dedicating their time to the environment by planting new trees, preserving old ones and so much more.
So, Mrs Mitzman and Mrs Rogerson thought this would be a great time to explore the trees in our very own Mini Forest here at Merry Hill. We have been learning about the parts of a tree and have used nature itself to create some creative diagrams.
We held the paper over the trees and used the texture to colour in our tree trunks. Then we got our hands dirty and did some mud painting for the leaves! Overall, we had a great time getting a little dirty and learning something new.
Wenzel’s – Giraffes
On Monday, Giraffes were baking with excitement when we set off on our first ever trip to the Wenzel’s factory! We have been talking plenty about the bakery from the Great Fire of London, so we could not wait to become a Junior Baker in one of our very own local factories.
We started our journey on a coach, which for a lot of us was the first ever time we had been on one. Some of us sang some songs and others played some journey games like Eye Spy.
When we arrived we were given our own apron, hair net and named Junior Baker badge to wear. With our uniforms on, we entered the world of Wenzel’s and basked in the smell of baking bread that made our tummies rumble.
Deep in the factory, we met a Wenzel’s baker named Colin. He began asking us what we already knew about baking bread and showed us a huge mechanical mixing bowl, which was when we found out we would be making our own bread using it! And so, we began to add the ingredients into the bowl. We found it very funny when Colin told us the yeast smelt beautiful and yet it did not!
Then we waited and waited, counting down as loud as we could until the timer was finished mixed our tasty treats! Colin pulled the pile of dough from the mixer and we began to knead our baked goods into different shapes and sizes.
Whilst we waited for our baked bread to be ready, Colin taught us how to decorate some other tasty treats. We started by icing the gingerbread man and Colin taught us how to hold the icing tube. Then we added some chocolate treats, giving our gingerbread men facial features and clothes!
When we thought it was over, Colin delighted us with some delicious-smelling cupcakes that we each twisted into a huge bowl of icing before dunking it into some colourful sprinkles.
Before leaving, we were given our baked goods in a bag along with a certificate. Overall, we had a fantastic time on our trip to Wenzel’s. As Junior Bakers, we now feel oven-ready to try some more baking in the future!
The Great Fire of London
This half term in English we have been learning to write recounts. We started the topic by learning a recount where a girl called Katie told us all about her day in London. We noticed that a good recount should be written in the past tense and uses time words to help sequence it.
This week we have been working together to apply what we learnt to write a class recount about The Great Fire of London. We worked together to plan the recount using a text map and then practised telling it aloud. Finally we started writing our recounts.
We have been working really hard to sit on our chairs and work quietly when writing. Look how well we have been doing.
Our teachers have been really impressed with how much our writing has improved since September.
ZONES OF REGULATION
“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
WHAT ARE THE ZONES OF REGULATION®?
The Zones of Regulation is a framework by Leah Kuypers.
It uses four colours to help children to identify their feelings so that they can work towards regulating them.
What is self-regulation?”
“…it is defined as the capacity to manage one’s thoughts, feelings and actions in adaptive and flexible ways across a range of contexts.”
We use the ZONES of Regulation in every area of the school as a resource to support the pupils to self regulate their emotions. You may have noticed all the staff wearing multi-coloured picture lanyards when you drop off and collect your child each day and wondered why. This is one of the ways in which we have encompassed The Zones at Merry Hill Infant School.
Another useful way of representing the ZONES is through Pixar’s Inside Out Characters.
The ZONEs teach pupils:
- Vocabulary of emotional terms
- How to recognise their own emotions
- How to detect the emotions of others (read others’ facial expressions)
- What may trigger certain emotions
- How others may interpret their behaviour
- Problem solving skills
HOW ARE WE USING THE ZONES ?
Children are encouraged to identify the ZONE they are in on arrival to school by putting their name in the ZONE that matches their feelings. Over the course of the day they have opportunities to discuss why they are in a certain ZONE and to move their name into another ZONE if their feelings change over the day. The staff lanyards have also proved a useful tool for children to indicate their ZONE by pointing if they do not feel ready to talk about how they are feeling. They understand that we all experience all the ZONES but the green ZONE is the best ZONE to be in for learning as it means we are able to focus and concentrate when in the classroom.
Something to try:
We practise breathing exercises in school as a “tool” to get back into the green zone.
This is called “Lazy 8” breathing. Start at the middle and draw a number 8 on its side in the air breathing in as you draw one side and out as you draw the other. Repeat until you feel calm and able to concentrate.
Also try to model your feelings by referring to the ZONE you are in:
I felt sad when I shut my finger in the door. I am in the Blue Zone.
I am happy you cleared your plate away. I am in the Green Zone.
I am in the Yellow Zone because it is my birthday tomorrow.
Give it a go and see if your child can label their Zone too.