100 Day Celebration

Dear Parents,

Since the first day of this school year, the students in Year 1 have been counting each day that we have come to school. This coming Thursday, 8th February, will be our 100th day of school. We are going to mark this day with a small celebration for the children. They will be able to visit all three Year 1 classes and work with the teachers and assistants on fun activities connected to the number 100. For example, the students will have the opportunity to make Dalmatian pictures with 100 spots, build models with 100 pieces and make sun glasses in the shape of the number 100.

You might like to talk about this event with your child at home and help them to prepare something to share in class on this day. For example, students could bring in a bag with 100 pieces of lego or pasta in it, make a picture out of 100 dots or draw 100 tally marks. This is completely optional, but could be a fun way of sparking discussions about numbers at home.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

The Year 1 Team

How We Express Ourselves Update

The Year 1 students are thoroughly enjoying learning more about stories. We have been exploring the different elements of stories, such as the characters and the settings, using much loved texts such as ‘The Rainbow Fish’ and ‘The Paper Bag Princess’. We have also been talking about how many stories contain a problem and a solution and that the author is often trying to give the reader a message. For example, after reading ‘The Rainbow Fish’ the students felt the author was trying to tell the reader that it’s important to share.

The students have explored the concept of perspective by listening to and discussing different versions of the same stories. For example, as well as the traditional version of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ we have read two other versions of it. In one called ‘The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,’ the wolf tries to convince the reader that he didn’t mean to hurt the pigs and that he accidentally blew their houses down when he sneezed. In another called ‘The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig,’ it is the pig who is the bad guy and the wolves who are innocent.

One of our lines of inquiry is about creating and expressing our own stories. Using play as a stimulus, the students have been working in small groups to create their own stories. By dressing up as different characters, using puppets and engaging in small world play the children have had the opportunity to be creative and use their imagination to make up different stories and act them out. Next week we will begin to ‘capture’ some of these stories by giving the students the opportunity to turn them into books during our writing sessions.

You will soon be receiving information from our LIS IT team about how to subscribe to and use your child’s own Seesaw blog. We are excited about the new way that Year 1 will be able to share learning with you. I will continue taking lots of photos of the Y1.2 students engaged in learning each week after we move to Seesaw. If you would like to see and copy any of these photos then please click on this link.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Ms. Gillian

Week 19 in Y1.2

Dear Parents,

There is a lot of exciting new learning going on in Year 1! Our How We Express Ourselves unit is providing the students with many wonderful opportunities to be creative.

We have been working on poetry during our writing sessions. The students have explored writing various poems including colour poems, mood poems, sound poems and shape poems. The children noticed that poems sometimes rhyme, but not always. They also noticed that poems can contain patterned language that is repeated throughout the poem. We’ve enjoyed reading lots of poetry during shared reading time.

As well as expressing ourselves through poetry, we have been exploring how people can express themselves through stories. The class have been learning about how interesting characters are an important element in good stories. We read ‘The Paper Bag Princess’ by Robert Munsch and discussed the personality traits and physical appearances of the three characters in the story. The students enjoyed using clay to make models of their own characters, such as super heroes and animals, that they will later be able to use when creating and acting out their own stories. The children have been given lots of time to engage in dressing up, role play and small world play as often wonderful ideas for stories are generated through play. For example, they made a ‘Dinosaur Kingdom’ complete with a volcano, river and lake using dinosaur figures and nature blocks.

During Math sessions we have been focusing on the concept of addition. We have thought about the purpose of the addition sign and the equals sign and practised writing our own addition equations. The students have been creating and drawing their own addition story problems and writing the addition equations to match them. For example, for the equation 5+5=10 a student created and illustrated this story problem, ‘One shark has five teeth and another shark has five teeth. How many shark teeth are there altogether?’

Please enjoy some photos from this week.

Kind regards,

Ms. Gillian




How We Express Ourselves

Dear Parents,

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful break. The students have come back to school refreshed and ready to learn.

This week we started work on our new unit of inquiry “How We Express Ourselves.” Please click on this link for an overview of the learning that will take place during this unit.

Looking forward to a fantastic term ahead!

Ms. Gillian

Please enjoy some photos from this week.

Week 17 in Y1.2

Dear Parents,

We’d like to say a massive thank you for the lovely Year 1 party that you arranged for the children this week. We really appreciated your help preparing the food and drinks, setting up the party and spending time celebrating the end of term with us. The students really enjoyed it.

On Wednesday the Year 1 students did a great job at the Arts Assembly. They paraded in while playing their musical instruments and then performed for the audience. Some of the children were quite nervous about going on stage, but they all overcame their fears and felt very proud of themselves after the assembly. Thank you to those of you who were able to attend this event and support the children.

Ms. Junior and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone rested and refreshed again in January!

Best wishes,

Ms. Gillian

Week 16 in Y1.2

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much for attending the Celebration of Learning this week. The students were incredibly excited to share their learning with you and clearly enjoyed having you visit their classroom. They did a wonderful job of taking about their musical instruments, sharing their teaching books about caring for the planet, showing you their nature photography and guiding you around the other work they had on display in the classroom. We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did.

We are coming to the end of our Sharing the Planet unit and so have been busy this week finishing off various tasks. During writing sessions the students have worked on publishing a favourite teaching book to keep in their Writing Progress Folders. Next week I will be sending home the other teaching books that the children have been working on in recent weeks. When you find some spare time over the vacation, please encourage your child to share these books with you.

This week in Math we have been reviewing the 2D shapes and 3D solids we have been learning about. We have also continued our work on the numbers 11 to 20. The students practised using mathematical vocabulary such as more than/less than and greater than/smaller than to compare teen numbers.

During unit time the students have enjoyed nature scavenger hunts around the school and more time in class enjoying junk modelling. They also made a representation of their nature photograph using charcoal.

Next Wednesday (13th December) at 2:10 the Year 1 students will be performing at the Primary School assembly. The plan is for them to get the assembly off to a great start by marching in while playing the instruments they made in Music class. You are very welcome to attend this event.

Please enjoy the two slide shows of photos from this week!

Kind regards,

Ms. Gillian

Sharing The Planet Update 2

Dear Parents,

We are continuing to work hard in Year 1 on our Sharing the Planet unit. The line of inquiry that has been driving a great deal of our learning over the past few weeks is: Personal choices that can help care for the environment. We have been reading books such as, ’10 Things I Can Do To Help My World’ and ‘The Earth Book’ in order to help generate ideas about the things we can do on a regular basis to care for the environment.  For example, the students found out that by turing the water off when they brush their teeth they can save around 18 glasses of water. The students have also been working on their own teaching books about the actions we can take to look after the planet. They are really looking forward to sharing these books with you during our celebration of learning next Thursday 7th December from 8:30 – 9:00.

Another area we have been focusing on is: Responsibility/sustainability ​- investigating ways that familiar materials can be reused. The students have been thoroughly enjoying being creative by making models, toys, pencil holders and other things from empty boxes, cardboard tubes, egg cartons and other materials that might otherwise be thrown away.

One of the areas we are focusing on during our reading and writing sessions is that there are established ways of setting out print and organizing books. In particular we have explored the role of titles within books. When writing their own teaching books about caring for the planet, the students have been encouraged to come up with appropriate titles that will give the reader a good idea of what their book is about. This was challenging for the children and some of their initial ideas for titles focused only on one of the themes covered in their book, such as ‘Pick up Trash,’ rather than giving an overview of the whole text. However, with guidance they were better able to come up with more general titles such as, ‘Care for the Planet’ and ‘How to Love Nature.’ When reading with your child at home, please look at the titles of the books you share and talk about them together.

As well as helping the students to secure their understanding of the number system, we have also continued focusing on Shape and Space during our Math sessions. One of our goals is to develop the student’s ability to sort, describe and compare 3D shapes. Using pictures of real-life examples of 3D shapes, such as skyscrapers shaped like rectangular prisms and oranges shaped like spheres, the students have been sorting the shapes into groups. They then drew their own pictures of real life examples of 3D shapes to add to each set.

Please enjoy some photos from this week in Y1.2.

Best wishes,

Ms. Gillian

Week 14 in Y1.2

Dear Parents,

As you know, one of the projects that the Year 1 students are currently working on in connection with our current unit is to make musical instruments using recycled materials. It has been wonderful to see how motivated the children are by this project. They are busy tapping, scratching and shaking the things they find to see if they make an interesting sound. Many students have made their own instruments at home and have brought them in to share. This is a great example of the children taking action based on their learning at school. Thank you so much to those of you who were able to support the students in making their musical instruments during Ms. Betsy’s Music class this week. Your help was greatly appreciated. We have been working in a similar way in class to turn ‘trash’ to ‘treasure’ by making models out of the recycled materials you have kindly sent in from home.

One of the scientific skills that we are helping the students to develop is the ability to look really closely and thoughtfully when observing the natural world. This week we practiced this by going outside to take ‘nature photographs’ on iPads. The children each had their own iPad to work with. Next week we will use the iPads again to take ‘zoomed in’ nature photos.

Ms. Rose came to class to talk with us about the process of turning food waste into compost. The students had become interested in this when they visited the teacher’s vegetable garden. Ms. Rose spoke to us about how to make compost and then took us to look at the compost bins in school so that the children could see the process first hand. Many of the students were able to make the connection between composting and minimising waste.

In Math we have been focusing on the vocabulary associated with position, location and direction. The students have been learning to give and follow directions such as forwards, backwards, left and right. One way that we approached this was to play a game where the students worked with a partner to take turns being a robot and a scientist. The scientist’s job was to guide the robot around the playground by giving clear instructions such a ‘Forward one step, left one step, right on step, etc.’ It was a great way for the children to practice their collaboration skills as well as to develop their mathematical vocabulary. Another way we have used directional language was when guiding a counter around various mazes and when designing our own mazes. We have also been focusing on the numbers 11 to 20. The students are increasingly aware of the fact that a number such as 12 is made up of one group of ten and two more.

In writing we have continued working on writing teaching books. This week we thought about the purpose of a book’s title and how it often gives us a good idea of what the book will be about. This is especially true of non-fiction books. The students have been creating and writing titles for some of their own teaching books, such as, ‘How to Care for Cats,’ ‘Jellyfish’ and ‘ABC Alphabet Book.’ This week the students had lots of fun thinking about the sounds they have been studying when we went on a sound hunt around the school. Each student had five letters to focus on and they had to find real life examples of items beginning with their sounds in the school environment. For example, they found ants, an apple core and Mr. Antonio starting with the letter a.

Please enjoy these photos from this week.

Kind regards,

Ms. Gillian



Learning Through Concepts

Dear Parents,

When our students inquire into the units of inquiry, they do so through a conceptual lens. What does this mean in practice?  What are students learning through these conceptual lenses?

Through our first line of inquiry ‘Appreciating Earth’s natural and human- made resources’ students are inquiring into the difference between natural resource and human-made resources. They are being encouraged to appreciate the nature within our school campus by going on many walks around the school. On different walks they have stopped to make observational drawings, used magnifying glasses to look more closely at nature and carried out surveys to record the natural and human-made resources they see.

Another concept that is framing the learning during this unit is responsibility, specifically what is our responsibility towards our environment? Our students are developing their understanding of this concept through gaining a better understanding of what waste means and resources might be wasted. Some of the students’ comments were that food, electricity, paper and water are being wasted and that recycling and reusing are a way to reduce our waste. Next week, we are planning to visit our school compost area to learn more about recycling food waste.

Ways to help/support your child at home

This unit provides a wonderful opportunity for engaging in open discussions with your child. One of the most important ways that you can assist your child at home is to connect with nature as much as you can and to draw their attention to the environment around them.

This week our school hosted a parent coffee morning about how we develop our students’ mathematical skills. A skill that we are aiming to develop throughout the year is our students number sense.


 One way is by subitizing, a term devised by the theorist Piaget referring to the ability to instantly recognize the number of objects in a small group without needing to count them, such as being able to recognize the number of dots when using dice without having to count each one individually.

Why is subitizing important? A predominant focus of our early math curriculum is the development of an understanding of number. Subitizing is an essential part of developing number sense as it helps children relate to numbers and to actual items or groups of items. This is known as number conservation. It is not uncommon that young children learn to count by rote but do not really understand the meaning behind what they are doing.  By looking at groups of objects, children can start to develop an understanding of how a number is made up: for example, six dots could be two sets of three dots, or a set of four dots and two dots. This understanding of part-part-whole relationships helps children to separate and combine numbers and accelerates understanding of addition and subtraction.

Playing dice games at home is an excellent way of supporting mathematical understanding with your child – and great way to spend family time together.

Please enjoy some photos from Week 13 at school.

Best wishes,

Miss Gillian

Please Come to Our Celebration of Learning

Dear parents,

You are invited to the Year 1 sharing of learning session on Thursday 7th December from 8:30 – 9:00am.

As you know, our students are busy inquiring into how our actions can make a difference to the environment we share. They will be applying their learning to write a teaching book about how to care for the environment. We would like the students to share this book with you during the celebration of learning. 

We look forward to seeing you in our classrooms then.

Kind regards,

The Year 1 Team