Room 8

Welcome to Room 8

Welcome parents.  I am Kate Girvan, your child's class teacher for 2017.  I am looking forward to getting to know your child and to support them on the road to becoming the best person they can.

We are a Year 1 class.  We have not started with a full quota but we increase steadily early this term.  A small number of children started in the latter part of 2016 and the rest will be new to our school. We aim to make them excited about learning, that Room 8 is their place, that they are loved and appreciated.

It is a big adjustment coming to school and there are many routines to follow when the children start at Oteha.  It would be helpful to your child if you encourage them to be independent as soon as possible in as many ways as you can.

It would be really good if you can come to school at least 10 minutes before the bell which enables the little ones to put things away and get organised for their day.  It means they are not feeling rushed. There will be places to put bags, drinks, book bags and hats. It gives them a chance to talk to others and to get to know them.  They then start the day feeling positive and ready to learn.

We have a brain food break at 10.00 daily.  Please name the lunchbox and drink bottle.  We ask that you send your child with fresh water daily, and a piece of fruit to eat at that time.  They are able to have morning tea at 10.50.  Please make the lunchbox as healthy as possible.  The children do not need biscuits and cakes. Lunch eating time is only 10 minutes, although the children do have the chance to eat beyond that time.  It is important that they do not have too much to eat as it means they miss out on playing. Send them with what you expect them to eat, nothing more.

Please chat with me regularly to see how things are going.  School and home need to be a partnership.  We are both here for the good of the children so ... don't be a stranger, come and be a part of our learning.

We will be using the English Jolly Phonic programme to learn our letter sounds.  They have actions that go with each and they are fun to learn.  We learn a sound a day arranged in specific groups which children to build words very early on in their learning.  Your child will be sent home with a sound chart, a sheet with high-frequency words and a number chart to learn daily.  The first sheet will be approximately 25% of the words they will use in reading.  The sheets need to be returned daily

Formal reading books will not be coming home right at the start of the term but your child will be encouraged to choose books to bring home to read each night with you.  They will need your support to discuss the pictures, the sounds and any other words that they might know with the same sound.  Pointing to words, showing the direction and simple punctuation will all help. There will be a reading diary for you to fill in daily. You will see examples in the front of the book.

In maths we are studying numbers from 1-10, and 10-20. Please assist your child to count forwards and backwards in the range of 100, identify what comes before and after and in between a number. Point out numbers in everyday life e.g. letter boxes, car registrations, supermarket prices etc.  It is also important to talk about shapes, patterns, money, time and to write numbers correctly every day.

We will have a blog during the year  We like to share our learning with our family and friends.  Feel free to write comments.

These are links that you might find helpful so that your little one can have fun learning at home.

The above is a link referencing the Jolly Phonics that we learn in class.

the above is to support you in helping your child to form letters correctly

During concept time we are learning about our Identity - I am unique  It is an interesting concept when your child is only 5 and still settling in at school.  We are trying to ensure things are as interesting, engaging and as exciting as possible.  When children are hooked into learning, their attention span increases and their wonder at the world is amazing.  They just love to learn.  Talk to your child about how we treat others and why, what does it look like at home, in the playground, when out shopping.   Ask them to come up with answers.  Explain why manners are so important in your family and at school.  Encourage curiosity about their world and provide time for them to make things, glue and paint things.  The biggest thing is to encourage conversation about what they have made, why, how it works and how they feel about it. Please understand how important listening to your child's ideas.

If you can talk to your child about taking responsibility for little things at home, it will help build their awareness of others and the knowledge that they can contribute to their world.  Every little thing helps.  They can carry their own school bag, unpack their lunch box, set the table, help to make lunch, put their uniform, shoes and school bag in the appropriate place each day at home and be proud that they are getting organised.  Often it is easier for us to do things for the children but it is not right for them.  The more that they become aware of their role in the school, in the family and beyond they will grow to be lifelong learners who know they have value in our world and that the little things they do make a big difference.

Please praise your child and acknowledge all the little things they do. Affirmation is a very powerful tool.   It helps to build their self-esteem.  It is not about telling them they are great, it's about acknowledging their efforts.  " I appreciated it when you put your toys away before tea." or  "Thank you for playing so well with your brother." or "I was proud of you getting out your homework before I asked you to."  They feel valued and appreciated. They love to come to school and share about all the jobs they do at home!

Term 2 concept learning is 'THINKING AND QUESTIONING' 

We all know how little ones have such a great deal to share.  Please encourage them to ask questions about anything and everything.  It would be helpful to ask them how they could find out the answer.  We are trying to encourage the children to think, reflect and discuss their thoughts, feelings and ideas.  Practise asking 'open' questions to elicit more than a 'yes' or ' 'no'.  If they find interesting things or pictures, encourage your child to bring them to share.  It always surprises me how deeply interested children are in each others' ideas.  

Changing reading books will be happening Mondays and Wednesdays now as we do not have enough school books.  I will endeavour to send home some of my own personal books too so I would appreciate you making sure that they are returned daily.

Just a reminder - please help your child to hold a pencil correctly and to form letters in the correct manner.  As some of them were doing this prior to starting school, it is very difficult to get them to change.  Working together on it is so important. 



Days to Remember

Reading is sent home each day.  It would be so helpful for your little one to remember to bring their book bags in each day with all the appropriate material inside.  It does affect the children if they forget their things.  They can feel anxious unnecessarily.

Books daily,  Monday to Thursday.  Please sit with them daily to share the books.  They are so proud to be able to read and you will soon notice that the children start to see words in all sorts of places and are proud to know them. Using fingers to point, running them along from left to right and talking about word meanings and using them in other sentences shows if they understand the use of the words.

It is important that their words and numbers be sent to school daily in the book bags.

Please ask questions that start with Who, What, Why, When, Where and How, to encourage the little ones to look more deeply into the story.

Each Friday there will be a poem in their large poem book.  Please read and discuss the poems with them and ask your child to read to you and along with you.  The children just love them. Ask them to find punctuation marks, letters, words, sounds, rhymes. Try reading the poems in different voices to make things fun. Please leave the book in the book bag daily.

Please would you be able to sign and write comments in the Homework Diary each night.  It is a good way to let me know if your child did not have a chance to read or found it too hard. I can then make extra sure that I give extra help. 

A high-frequency word list for each child is sent home for practising every night.  They earn rewards when they know the whole sheet so we want to support them in learning the words. The need to learn to read them as fast as possible so it is so important to do them daily as there are so many to learn.  They are the most basic words that will enable them to read with confidence. It can take quite a long time for children to really absorb a new word and retain it.  -Please note that there are words on page 31 of the diary that they can learn too.  By the end of year 2 they need to know about 500!  We have a long way to go!

Please encourage your child to write at home.  The correct formation of letters and how a pencil is held is really important.  As the children begin to read, they are more enthusiastic about writing cards and letters, and practising words they know.  It is lovely to see how proud the class are of their accomplishments.

Maths - 120's chart page is sent home for use daily.  Please encourage your children to count forwards, backwards, touching each number that they say.  They can find numbers that come after or before or in-between other numbers.  It is a difficult concept and needs much practise. Ask them to find you certain numbers or things like "touch 13.  What is 2 more?" Practise counting from a given number in 10's 5's and 2's.  They can go forwards and backwards when skip counting.Ask them to make groups with any sort of "junk" you have at home.  Get them to join the groups and tell you how many they have.  Do the same with "taking items away. Make it fun. The children can count from any number with you a million and 1, a million and 2." They love it and shows them that numbers go on forever! It helps them to hear the correct way to say the numbers. Practising writing their numbers and recognising the word for each number is important.

Library Day - In Term 2 our library day is Tuesday.  If books are not returned the children cannot take other books out.  They can take 2 each week. They do not have to be brought in each day as they are too heavy.  Library time is always exciting and the children do love to choose new stories.

We have Year 1/2 Assemblies every second week at 1.40 in the hall.   You are always welcome to come along.














































































































































Homework is important at this stage of your child's learning.  Please a set time on a daily basis.  The routines are really valuable and take away any worries your child might have as to whether they will get their work done.  The children love to please!