Spring 1 – Diversity
Class Topic – China
Well, it has been a bit of a strange one again this half term, as we are once again back in lockdown. However, we are making the best of it and whether we were in school or learning from home using Microsoft Teams for our three live lessons a day, we have been getting exactly the same interesting lessons! Our attendance and engagement has been excellent, and I would like to thank the parents at home for all of their hard work and support.
In Spring 1 our whole school topic has been celebrating Diversity. This means we have been exploring all the ways people are different across the world and within our community. We have been focusing on respecting other cultures and beliefs, recognising how people have many similarities as well as differences and how people’s lives can differ from our own. In our class, we have been looking in particular at China.
In literacy, we have used the story of The Magic Paintbrush by Julia Donaldson to develop our reading and writing skills. We even had chance to watch a performance of the story online! In the story, Shen receives a magic paintbrush and whatever she paints becomes real! We have developed interest in the story, thinking about what we would create using a magic paintbrush, as well as mapping the events of the story to discuss what happens to Shen. We have developed our spelling, grammar and punctuation skills by using ? and !, adding -ed to create past tense verbs and using adjectives to write our own character descriptions. We have also explored Chinese food and written instructions to make some!
Through PSHE this half term we have explored showing kindness and respect when thinking about diversity. We have acknowledged that this is a time when things can be hard for lots of people, so we used the story of Have Your Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud to think about how we could show kindness to others. We have also explored how people are different, using the story of There’s Room for Everyone by Anahita Teymorian to understand that while people may not look or act in the same way as us, or believe the same things we do, there is room for everybody and all people should be respected. This is what makes our world a wonderful place!
In Geography, we were looking specifically at China but also comparing life in China to life in the UK. We have used maps to locate China, its major cities and the surrounding seas, and discussed what the landscape, culture, agriculture and weather of China is like. We have also looked at life in China, exploring the food and finding out how their school days are different to ours. We have compared London to Beijing and Shanghai and even learnt to count in Mandarin! As our topic developed, we compared China to the UK and thought about similarities and differences. Throughout the topic, children have been encouraged to ask geographical questions– Where is it? What is this place like? How near/far is it? What is the difference?
In the last week of term, we focused on Chinese New Year! 2021 is the year of the Ox. We studied the story of the Jade Emperor’s race which explains the Chinese zodiac. We have listened to and perform Chinese drumming and identified the beat, and also tried some Chinese food!
In RE we have been learning all about Buddhism – one of the most important religions in China. We have looked at the main aspects of Buddhism, including its signs and symbols, as well as the life of the Buddha himself. Then we explored what Buddhism teaches its followers, and how they worship on a day to day basis by looking at meditation and Buddhist temples. We even had a go at some mindfulness meditation! Finally we looked at how Buddhists celebrate festivals, looking at the festival of Wesak.
In science we have been learning about the four seasons, when they occur and the features of each. We compared our seasons to those in China. We have been particularly focused on the winter season, and have explored different signs of winter whether in school or at home. This half term we were lucky to have a Snow Day – and while our online live lessons still went ahead, we also had time to go out and explore the snow (all in the name of science of course!).
We have explored different scientists, and have learnt that not all scientists are old men in white coats with frizzy hair – they are all sorts of people from all walks of life such as Professor Stephen Hawking, Mae Jemison, APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon. The children had fun becoming scientists themselves, creating a weather station at home measuring rainfall, wind directions and temperature and made measurements and observations over time!
This half term we have been exploring the beat and rhythm through Chinese drumming. We started by listening to lots of different types of music from China, as well as talking about the types of music we like to listen to. We know that different people like different types of music – some of us like dance music, lots of us like pop music and a few of us (including Miss Tyrrell!) like to listen to much louder rock music sometimes! We discussed how different types of music can reflect our different moods and that often, people have very diverse music tastes. We then explored Chinese drumming, thinking about the importance of the beat and keeping a rhythm. We looked at how the dynamics or volume changes in music, as well as the tempo (how fast the piece is). Lastly we had a go at creating our own drum beats based on the Chinese drumming we had listened to.
PE has obviously been a bit different this half term, as most of us are learning from home. We have been creative for our PE this half term though and our activities have ranged from using the Derbyshire and Nottingham Progressive Sports home learning ideas to Joe Wicks, Cosmic Yoga or just getting out and about for a good old walk or bike ride! We understand the importance of keeping active, especially during the lockdown.
Autumn 2 – Communication
Class Topic – Fire, Fire!
In Autumn 2 we have been working on our Communication skills as part of our whole school topic, and in Year 1/2 we have done this through our topic of Fire, Fire! At the heart of this topic has been finding about all the different ways we can communicate effectively, as well as how people have communicated with each other in the past, such as during the time of the Great Fire of London.
In Literacy, we used our senses to write and perform poems about fire works. We learned how to use our voices well to perform our poems thinking about volume, tone, expression and actions. We also took part in a poetry festival on 19th November, with a great performance of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’!
We used a story about The Great Fire of London in literacy to identify punctuation and focus on using capital letters and full stops in our writing, as well as beginning to explore exclamation marks and question marks. We thought carefully about communicating our ideas and saying our sentences out loud before writing them down. This helped us to remember what we wanted to say, and to use our sounds to help us write our words.
We took part in ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’ on 25th November which was a day of only spoken activities to further develop pupils’ language and communication skills. We enjoyed doing active phonics on this day, as well as showing off our super acting skills by acting out our own stories before writing them up later in the week!
Our PSHE theme was ‘Staying Safe’. As part of this, we took part in Anti-Bullying week. We identified what bullying is, where we could go for help and advice and how we can unite against bullying. We also wore odd socks to celebrate how we are all different! We learned about online communication this half-term in our Online Safety unit. We learned a lot about how to stay safe online, including rules for safe internet use and online communication in a developing online world.
We started the half-term learning about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. This coincided with Bonfire Night! Even though we couldn’t celebrate Bonfire Night as we might have liked this year, we had fun talking about the ways we have celebrated in the past and looking forward to doing so again in the future! We are now able to discuss the key events of the Gunpowder Plot and explain why we celebrate on Bonfire Night. In the rest of our History lessons, we learned about The Great Fire of London. We discussed and learned about how the fire started and why it spread so quickly! Thinking about communication once more, we explored how we know so much about the Great Fire and looked at the diarist, Samuel Pepys. We compared present-day London to the London that existed in 1666. We identified what life was like in the 17th Century and compared differences and similarities between ways of today, and we especially enjoyed finding out about the different jobs people had. Do you know what a Gong Farmer is? It certainly made us laugh when we found out!
This term our PE was gymnastics. We performed contrasting movements and balances including star, tuck, front support shapes and balances. We travelled in different ways, changing speed and direction. We learned to control our bodies when jumping and rolling in different ways and link movements to create a sequence.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
We have been designing and making felt houses for a display during this half term! We started off by looking at other displays, and thinking about what makes a good one. Then, we started designing what we wanted our display to look like and how we could make our felt houses. Then we made them, cutting fabrics and combining our textiles using glue. After this, we evaluated them to think about what we had done well and what we could improve on next time.
This half term we have been finding out how humans and computers communicate, looking at Coding. We have explored how computers cannot act on their own; they need humans to program them using code. We have become Computer Programmers ourselves, writing code using Scratch Jr to make objects move, get larger and smaller, disappear and reappear and then even creating our own animations!
We also had great fun at forest school this half term, leading our own learning outside and working really well as a team!
Autumn 1 – Wellbeing: Kindness
Class Topic – Knights and Castles
During Autumn 1 we really enjoyed learning about Knights and Castles, as well as focusing on our whole school topic of Wellbeing. For our particular focus we looked at kindness, exploring how to show it to others and ourselves. This whole school topic is threaded through all of our lessons, and we kept the themes of ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘Kindness’ in mind with everything we did this half term.
Our class read a range of Knights and Castle stories this half term including: Knights and Dragons, Unite! and Zog, as well as creating and describing our own dragons! All the stories we looked at had the same theme: kindness always wins! In creating our own dragons, we used what we had learnt from the stories to develop our own writing – using adjectives, using verbs and using our senses in description.
In our PSHE lessons, we looked at Mental Wellbeing, Friendships and Health. We were able to identify our emotions and talk about these. We learnt about how to be a kind friend and look out for one another, as well as exploring how to protect our own wellbeing by being kind to ourselves.
In ART we studied the work of Paul Klee with a particular focus on the picture ‘The castle and the sun.’ We used the style of Paul Klee’s work to inspire and create our own artwork, inspired by his picture. We developed our cutting skills to create shapes and patterns and joined them using glue, as well as drawing round shapes and developing our colouring skills. We used a range of media such as pastel and collage, and explored how we could use art to express our feelings. We found that colouring mindfully meant we did a better job, and also enjoyed it more!
We also had a week dedicated to DT this term. During DT week we designed, made and evaluated our own castle catapults to defend the 1/2ET castle from our opposition in 2DT! First we explored different types of catapults throughout history to get some ideas before designing our own catapults in groups. We worked hard in teams to lead our own learning, and come up with our own ideas, and then we explored different types of materials that we might like to use. All our catapults were different, but effective in their own ways, and we loved working together as a team with our friends. We worked with Miss Lambert to put them together, thinking about any changes we might need to make along the way. Then, the fun bit! We tested them in a mock battle against 2DT! We were thrilled to find out that our catapults won – one of them even sent the ball over 6 metres! As Joshua said, “this was the best thing ever!”. While the other class had to admit defeat, we always kept in mind that the competition was a friendly one, and great fun was had by all!
During our History lessons, we learned about how castles changed over time. We found out about motte and bailey castles and discussed why wooden castles were replaced by stone castles. We identified design features they were built with to help protect the people that lived in them such as: arrow slits, drawbridges, moats, battlements etc. We found out about the different roles in the castle and what life was like, and thought about whether we would have liked to have lived in a castle! What do you think?
In PE this term we developed our Fundamental Skills. We explored how to travel in a range of ways including jumping, hopping and turning. We experimented with a range of balances by using different parts of our bodies, trying to be as imaginative as possible. We improved our accuracy when throwing bean bags, balls and other equipment.
This half term we have also explored different types of information, and how Computers can be used in a modern world to support our wellbeing. For example, we looked at how Computers supported us during the recent lockdown to communicate with others, to work and to learn from home. We sorted information into different types and then worked on presenting our own information in different ways by logging on to the laptops, typing and inserting pictures using Microsoft Word.