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Year 2

  • English – Recounts

    Our next unit of writing is non-fiction! Lots of us are excited to learn the features of a non-fiction text. This unit will focus on recounts and in particular a diary.

    We began our non-fiction journey with a mystery. As part of the hook of the unit, we had to venture into the corridors and uncover the clues that would tell us more about what our non-fiction text was about. We used what we had already learnt in Geography and History, to uncover the clues. We discovered they were all London landmarks!

    Take a look at us using our whiteboards to gather the clues!

    After that, we learnt what our class recount is: a diary based on a book called ‘Katie in London’ by James Mayhew. It is based on a girl called Katie who travels around London with her Grandma and brother visiting London landmarks and seeing marvellous things, such as the Changing of the Guard!

    As we are now Year Two, our teachers challenged us with some comprehension questions! We had to use what we had learnt and answer the question in full sentences! We then had an opportunity to mark it ourselves as a group. Take a look at some of our work:

    Lastly, we learnt the whole class text! We then had to sequence the events in order using time words and write a summary of what happened in each event. Look at some of our work:

    How to help at home:

    • Write a recount diary of an exciting day you have had!
    • When reading with your child, ask questions and encourage them to write answers to them in full sentences.
    • Use time words to sequence the day, for example first I went to school.
    • Research more landmarks within the UK or another country of interest and pop them onto Seesaw for us to see
  • Design Technology in Year 2!

    This half term Giraffes and Bears have been excited to design, explore and build structures working toward building our own Tudor house, linking to our work in History on the Great Fire of London.

    We started by thinking about what a structure is:
    ‘something that has been built(the parts joined in an ordered and structured way’.

    We looked at some famous buildings and considered the terms strong (the material is not easily broken and can hold some weight), stiff ( the material does not bend easily) and stable (any changes to the material are very slow), thinking in particular what joining techniques were used.

    Our first challenge was to create a bridge to hold a weight (a pen) and to use card as well as joining techniques previously learnt; glue, treasury tags, tape, split pins etc…
    We worked as a team trying to make our structure as strong, stable and stiff as possible ready for them to be tested. We sat in a circle ready for our structures to be tested…there were varying degrees of success! We learnt a lot about the best joining techniques and how folding and rolling card can strengthen the structure.

    We went onto explore different materials and were given the challenge to create a replica of Big Ben using either;  cling film, cardboard, paper, tin foil or card.
    Again the children worked in teams. We evaluated these different materials in terms of them being strong, stiff and stable at the end of our lesson. We decided that cling film was the least strong material and that cardboard was the best for building a structure that is strong, stiff and stable.

    Over the following weeks we focused on Tudor housing and recreated the wattle and daub effect by weaving card and straws.

    This week we have designed our Tudor houses, thinking particularly of the different features:
    thick beams
    tall chimney
    triangular, steep roof
    black and white
    black window frames.


    In our design we considered the different materials we would use. We can’t wait to start making our Tudor structures next week!

    How you can help at home:

    Look around Bushey and Watford and see if you can spot any Tudor style houses (particularly around the Tudor Estate). Ensure children understand that many of these are not original Tudor houses but replicas. St Alban’s has a rich history with many original buildings  

  • Science – materials

    This week in Year 2, we  begun our science lesson with the word absorbent. We discussed its meaning using our Word Aware strategies at Merry Hill. First, we said the word, next we clapped the syllables in the word, then we discussed its meaning, and finally we rapped the word! We especially enjoyed that last part!

    Next, we discussed how we could test different materials. We thought about how to make it a fair test and we did this by only changing the material we used. We decided we would need five different materials and some water.

    Then, we had to make a prediction about what material we thought would be the most absorbent to the least absorbent.

    After that, we had the most fun conducting the experiment! Take a look at some of us testing our materials!

    Finally, we had to record the experiment into our books.

    How to help at home:

    • Check out your toys! What material are they made out of?
    • Choose a property, for example ‘stretchy’, how many different materials in your house have this property?
    • Can your child do the washing up with different materials? Which one is the most absorbent?
  • Remembrance in Year 2

    As part of our History Curriculum at Merry Hill, we have been thinking in depth about Remembrance. In particular Year 2 have been focusing on the following two questions:

    1)Who and what do we remember on Poppy day?
    2) What can we learn about the past from our local war memorial?

    We started our week by looking at the following image:


    The children used the clues in the image to think about who we are remembering on Poppy day. We talked about how the poppy reminds us of the soldiers, airmen and sailors who died during the war:

    “We think about people in the war”
    “Soldiers who have died”
    “My granny is 90, she remembers the war”

    The children acknowledged that there are wars going on around the world at the moment and we discussed the importance of remembering all those who are involved and affected by the impact of them.

    On Wednesday 8th November Padre Nicoll, who serves in the RAF as a chaplain, came to school to take an assembly to help us think about this more. Parents of our Forces children who also serve in the Army, Royal Navy or RAF came along, some in uniform.  Padre Nicoll helped us to think through  ‘What?’ we remember, ‘Why?’ we remember and ‘Who?’ we remember. We were also fascinated to ask some of the grown ups about life in the Armed Forces.



    Year 2 then had the opportunity to walk down School Lane to visit the war memorial, helping us to answer our second question:

    What can we learn about the past from our local war memorial?

    Padre Nicoll explained what happens at local war memorials all around the country on Remembrance Day. We looked carefully at the war memorial, which is stone and carved in the shape of an angel holding a wreath. He explained that the names of men who fought in the wars (only men at that time) were written in stone on the reverse of the memorial. He read out some famous poems and explained that a bugle often plays. We then had a go at being silent for one minute to remember. Lastly our Forces ambassadors laid a poppy wreath at the foot of the memorial.

    Before we went back to school we walked around the back of the memorial to look at all the names that were carved into the stone. We were surprised at how many there were. We know it is very important to look back to the past and remember those who gave their lives in war. 

    Here is a poem that Padre Nicoll read to us by Laurence Binyon entitled ‘For the Fallen’:

    They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:

    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

    We will remember them.

    How to help at home:
    Can you help your child/ren find out why Poppy Day is always the second week of November? We would love to read your responses on Seesaw. 
  • Counting on and back in 10s

    This week we have been focusing on counting on and back in multiples of 10. We started by orally rehearsing our multiples of 10 which went very well, so we new we were ready for a challenge.

    First, we learnt a very important fact: When we add 10 the ones stay the same and the tens change. This was such an important pattern to notice because it will help us when adding 10 to bigger numbers!

    Then, we learnt that when we add ten ones to a number, for example 24 + 10, we have to regroup ten ones for one ten.

    For example: 24 + 10 = 34

    When we add 10 ones, 34 becomes made up of 2 tens and 14 ones. So, we must regroup and then 34 is made up of 3 tens and 4 ones.

    Have a look below at some of us doing this practically with dienes first:

    Once we learnt this and had lots of opportunity to practise using the dienes, we became whizzy mathematicians! Check out some of our maths learning from our books below:

    Some of us have now got Next Steps in our books ready for the morning challenge!

    How to help at home:

    • Give your child some two digit numbers to add 10 to. Do they remember how to regroup?
    • Continue to use Numbots to support your child with their calculations.
    • For variation, can your child use money to add 10p to an amount?
  • Poetry in Year 2!

    In English our focus over the last two weeks has been poetry.

    First we read ‘At the Zoo’ by William Makepeace Thackery (1811-1863). We recited this together with our teachers and noticed how at the end of each line was a comma.

    At the Zoo

    First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black,
    Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back,
    Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw,
    Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw,
    Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk,
    Then I saw the monkeys—mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!

    We thought about the animals we might see at a zoo and made a class list poem, using commas.  We then had a go at writing our own:


    Next, we listened to Autumn Woods by James S. Tippett. After that, we brainstormed the different nouns we see during autumn time and thought about suitable adjectives to describe them. We then had a go at writing our own autumn poem. Finally we wrote out our poem in best, we felt very proud of our work!


    This week we have focused on performance poetry, thinking in particular about the poet Benjamin Zephaniah and his poem called ‘Talking Turkeys’. We listened to him recite his poem-it really made us think! We thought about the characters in his poem, his tone- how it made us feel and the actions and gestures he used as he recited it.

    We learnt the first verse together, using a copy of it and drawing pictures to help us remember what was coming next. Then the children worked in five groups and each child took one verse to read. They really enjoyed practising together and adding tone and gesture. As they became more confident, they became less reliant on their printed version- well done!

    We all really enjoyed performing ‘Talking Turkeys’’ to our friends this week!

    How you can help at home: 

    • Encourage  your child to recite some of our class poems to you and refine their performance
    • Visit the library, look online and read a variety of poems. Discuss the language used and how the poem makes you feel.



  • Art – Moulding our clay pots

    This half term we have been learning about the English ceramic artist Clarice Cliff. We have loved studying her designs, she loved bold colours and used lots of shapes in her work. We used her ideas to recreate our own designs in our sketch book, using paint and pastels.

    We have also enjoyed using these designs to then decorate paper plates. Once the paint had dried we used black pens to really make our designs stand out. We were very pleased with the results!

    This week we were very excited to make a pot or a plate using clay! First we watched a video showing us how to create a basic coil pot or a pinch pot. Our teachers then showed us, then we got chance to make our own, using the techniques we had learnt. Once we had cut, moulded, shaped, pinched and smoothed our pots we were able to use tools to create a design on the pot. We were very proud of our clay creations!

    Next week, we will be painting our creations! We are very excited.

  • Scientific Enquiry in Year 2

    This term we have been learning about keeping healthy. We started by thinking about the need for humans to eat a balanced diet and what that looks like. The children created their own ‘eat well plates’ showing meals with the advised amount of carbohydrate, protein, fruit and vegetables, dairy and oil/fat/sugar. Next the children thought about how we can stay healthy and brainstormed ideas such as:

    • washing our hands
    • washing our bodies/hair
    • brushing teeth
    • exercising
    • getting enough sleep
    • drinking water                                                                                                                                                                                         

    We also learnt about the famous scientist Louis Pasteur. Louis carried out some experiments to prove that germs are living things that can spread between objects and people, through touch or through the air.

    Our word of the day was ‘hygienic‘ and we know that this means to keep clean and therefore helps to stop the spread of germs. 

    This week in science we created an experiment using bread, to try to prove that handwashing is important to stop the spread of germs.

    First we thought about an investigative question to help us and decided upon ‘Is it important to wash our hands before we eat?’ We then  discussed what we could do to try to show this. This is the method we followed:

    First we took one slice of bread and put it in a bag, using plastic gloves, so untouched by hands.

    Then, one child washed their hands with soap and dried them, then touched the bread with their hands and put it in the bag.

    Next, another child who hadn’t washed their hands touched the bread and put it in a bag.

    Finally, a child who was willing to put their hands in the mud, did so and then touched the bread! We put that in a bag too. We sealed them all up and stapled them to our display board. 

    We enjoyed reciting a simplified method, using hand actions to help us!

    We are observing the slices of bread closely, to notice any changes.

    We talked about what making a prediction means. Here are some of our predictions:

    “Slice number 4 will go mouldy first because it has the most germs”.

    ” Slice number 2 might go a bit mouldy as not all the germs will have been washed off the hands”

    “Slice number 1 will go a bit mouldy but later than the others”. 

    Some great scientific enquiry Year 2! We can’t wait to see what will happen next!



  • Inclusion Week

    This week has been National Inclusion Week and we have been celebrating everything we do at Merry Hill to ensure we are an inclusive school.

    In our assembly on Monday we learnt the difference between equality and equity.

    Equality means that everyone has the same chances or gets the same treatment. Everyone is treated equally.

    Equity means that everyone has the same chances – just like equality – but equity also means considering different people’s situations so that they really are treated fairly.

    If 3 children of different heights went to watch a sporting event but found that they couldn’t see over the fence, what could we do to give them a fair chance of watching the event?

    If they all got the same number of boxes to stand on (equality), it would not be fair as one child can still not see over the fence.

    If they all got the number of boxes that they needed to stand on to be able to see over the fence, they would all have the same chance of seeing the sporting event with their own individual situations and needs being taken into account. Now that really is fair!

    We have talked about many of the resources and strategies we have at Merry Hill to ensure everyone is included in the classrooms, outside on the playground and at lunch times.  Some of the things we came up with included:

    • our mindfulness areas in the classroom
    • writing slopes and pencil grips
    • fiddle toys and our fiddle boxes, funded by the FoMH
    • visual timetables
    • scaffolds and prompts to help us achieve something we find tricky
    • having a special place in the line, e.g. line leader
    • adaptations at lunch time, such as having a different tray or a designated place to sit
    • visiting the sensory room and using the resources in our class sensory bags
    • prompts in our learning tool kits to help us remember phonic sounds and harder to read and spell words etc.


    In our classrooms we read the story ‘Who Are You?’ written by Smriti Halls and illustrated by Ali Pye – ‘A joyful celebration of the pieces, places and people that make us who we are’.  We shared what made us special and unique, to include our families and backgrounds, festivals and celebrations, the clothes we wear, the places we have lived or travelled to, our favourite foods and activities etc.  We then designed a piece of a jigsaw puzzle to represent ourselves. The class jigsaw puzzle that we created reminds us that we are all individuals who are different, special and unique, but we are all valued and included in Bear and Giraffe class and at Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery.

    How to help at home:
    • Have conversations that celebrate individuals and their differences
    • You can listen to the story “Who Are You? by Smriti Halls being read online
    • Visit the library and see if you can find other books to enjoy that celebrate inclusion
    • Encourage your child to recognise what they need to help them be successful at an activity
  • Maths

    This week in Maths we have been thinking about some different strategies to help us with our number fluency to twenty. We have thought about how to use part-part-whole to regroup the same number in different ways, for example 10+2=12 and 11+1=12. We enjoyed showing off all the different ways!

    Most recently, we have begun to use a ‘think 10‘ strategy to add two single digit numbers. It is a strategy that challenges us to use our calculating skills.

    Take a look below at a worked example of this method:

    We did a lot of challenging practical work; we used our counters and ten frames first to consolidate the learning and then  moved onto the written work! Our number bonds to 10 became especially useful here, so it is definitely worth revisiting these on a regular basis at home.

    How to help at home

    • Practise number bonds with your children. They are crucial to further learning ahead! You could try the online game at Top Marks –
    • Can your child show you how to use the think 10 strategy?
    • We will be moving onto think 10 for subtraction soon. Give your child some subtraction problems within twenty to get their brains warmed up for next week!
  • Funnybones

    This week in English we have been reading ‘Funnybones’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. We looked carefully at the front cover and tried hard to predict what might happen next at different points in the story.

    We learnt about labels – what they are and why they are important. We used the Word Aware approach to help.

    We decided that a good label would have the correct word to match its object, letters that were evenly spaced, not too far apart and not too close together and writing that went from left to right.

    We used post it notes to label things around our classroom.

    We linked our Science learning about body parts to our English and labelled the different parts of the Funnybones’ skeletons. Have a look at some of our wonderful label work.

    We have also been learning about lists – what they are and when they might be useful. We had a go at writing our own lists to remind the skeletons of all the different places they could visit. We tried really hard to make sure we wrote each word on its own new line. Here are some of our lists:


    How to help at home: 

    • Ask your child to help write shopping lists, birthday lists etc
    • Encourage your child to label any models or artwork they complete at home – post it notes are good for labels.
    • Visit the library – can you find any non-fiction books that contain lists or labels?
  • Pumpkin Soup

    This week we have been working hard to learn the story  ‘Pumpkin Soup’ by heart. We worked together in our classes to draw a story map and decide on actions to help us with our retelling.

    We have discussed the main characters and written sentences about them, remembering our capital letters at the start and our full stop at the end.

    After learning the opening and build up we made predictions about what we thought might happen next- there were some great ideas!

    We have been practising lots to make sure we really know the story. Our teachers even mixed up the story map and challenged us to put it back in the correct order!

    We have also been learning about the use of the conjunctions ‘and’ and ‘but’ to join two ideas together. We have had a go at using them in our sentence work and will continue to do this in future writing tasks.

    Next week we will be working together to change the characters and the nouns in the story.

    How to help at home 

    • Make (or buy) some soup to try (pumpkin if at all possible!). Which adjectives could you use to describe it? Remember to use all 5 of your senses.
    • Go on a noun (naming word – person, place or thing)  or verb (doing word e.g run, catch) hunt around your house. Can you find a noun or verb for every letter of the alphabet?
    • Use the story map to help you act out the story.
    • Start to think about some new characters and nouns that could be included in our new stories.