Mrs H's blogs

Date: 18th Oct 2022 @ 8:31pm

Tuesday 8th

Practice makes perfect? What do you think? Is perfection achievable? And perfection in what? There's one element of learning the number bonds to 10 (5,7,20 etc) off by heart that I desire for all children so that it reduces cognitive load within their mental maths and problem solving skills; recognising our phonemes allows faster words per minute reading fluency etc etc but does that makes us perfect? I prefer practice makes permanent . I want practice to speed the learning into the long-term brain compartments. So please practice, practice, practice and what can you do?

  • play shut the box. (digit cards 1-9. 2 dice. 1 person rolls.4, 5. Choose to turn over the card of the total (9) or the individuals (4,5). Same person rolls again- 6,3. turn over the total (if you can) or the 2 individual cards.Same person rolls again and again until they can't turn over a card (eg  total has been turned over and one/both individual cards have been turned over). Calculate all the cards not turned over to make a score. Person 2 starts a new game. (If you want one...) Winner is the one with the lowest total. Keep going! When they are feeling confident you can play around with the number bonds so if they throw 6, 2 but 6 and 8 are turned over, they could find another pair that make 8 (5,3).  This is a fantastic maths game that will really help their mental maths confidence. Practice will make permanent!
  • Read. Read to them, read with them, read anything! Spotting digraphs even if they show different sounds for the letters. This week we noticed 'feathers' had a 'ea' grapheme but not our new 'ea' phoneme (eat). Interesting! They can cope with this aspect of the English code and need to be exposed to these fascinations so by the time they get to 'ough' (brought, cough, though, through...!), they are open to it. 
  • We are loving our owl topic already so anything owl/birds of prey-related would be fab.
  • tummy breathing. We put our hands on our tummy and breathe deeply in, hold and breathe out and focus on the rise/fall in our tummies. It will help with going off to sleep (honestly! I've tried it!) and letting go of unwanted negative emotions (honestly! I've tried it!).

And me? I'll be practising nativity until it becomes permanent! I can't wait to show it to you already!.

Here's to a fab week.

To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless. Psalm 119:96

Wednesday 2nd November

I don't think I truly appreciated the beauty of autumn until moving back to Cheshire. Tarporley is so lucky to have such amazing outside grounds and to be part of the changing nature. Playtimes are full of leaf collecting and puddle-jumping. And I suppose you're interested in what the children do as well! They have a vast area to explore even minus the muddy field at the moment and I love being part of their outside choices and seeing that different side to school life. They are getting good at solving issues themselves and working out how to be kind but also resilient, imaginative and physical and mostly very loud!

We managed to keep our voices quite quiet on Monday morning when we had our feathery friends to visit. 4 spectacular owls who allowed us to stroke them, watch them swivel their heads, show us their wingspan and generally captivate us completely. I would say shame about the little bit of toilet leakage but, quite frankly, I bet that is the bit you heard about! It is more of a shame that the bird lady called them 'plops' which is the name of our owl character in our book which we start tomorrow. Allow some prayers for my managing behaviour the moment that is mentioned!

The owls were amazing 'hooks' into our English, science and D/t and already we can say so much about these fascinating creatures. Do they know 2 differences between a barn owl and a tawny? Which owl is not totally nocturnal? Which owl is considered wise and why? Which of the 4 owls on Monday is not naturally found in the UK? Test them!

We are also learning about Shabbat and why this is an important part of the week for Jews. I love how interested the Squirrels are in new information and how they ask questions to help them understand the similarities and differences between Judaism and Christianity. It is one way of developing our responsibilities as global citizens. #LetYourLightShine

Don't forget to book your parents' evening slot as I am looking forward to having a quick chat about your lovely child.

Mrs H


Monday 24th

Happy Diwali! The festival of lights is being celebrated around the world today and for the next few days, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the human ability to overcome. Let's hope everyone's light can shine brightly over the next few days, months and years.

Coming to Tarporley and being with my Squirrels this half term has shone a beautiful light in my life, I can tell you. These children (in my class and around school) and staff are marvellous human beings who show joy through song, play and learning. What a privilege to be part of that! 

I wonder what your half term highlights have been? Here are a selection of mine:

  1. Worship. The respect, the sense of celebration, the school and church community coming together regularly.
  2. Harvest Festival. Samba-ing our love in that beautiful church to you- my heart was full of pride!
  3. Learning behaviours. We know what we should be doing, when and how. It's full steam ahead for the next half-term's learning. See our class page for an update of autumn 2's curriculum.
  4. Your support. Thank you for welcoming me into your school and lending me your child for a few hours each day. We make a good team.

See you in a week and in the meantime....keep them reading!

Wednesday 12th October

What makes a good friend? Is it about playing what they want to play? Is it about doing what they say? Is it about saying sorry?

This week as we learn more about Moses, Joseph and what beliefs and values Christians and Jews have in common, we also learn about love, friendship and trust. 3 of our school values right there to consider and reflect upon. We have used our Children's Bible to learn about what happened to Moses and Joseph and what we can learn from them. there were some suggestions that we use our candle more often so that when we are writing and trying to grow our brains hard, maybe having God with us, would help some of us strive to shine our light brighter. 

And what bright lights they were in our Harvest Festival this week! I was so proud of their respectful behaviour in church, their commitment to the singing and their joy on their faces when we did our own Harvest samba. Is it presumptious of me to say, we were brilliant? Onwards and upwards to nativity now...

We learnt a new word game this week called word ladders. Here's how it works so you can play at home.

Start with a word (consonant-vowel-consonant): rig

Change one letter to make a different word: dig

Change another letter to make a different word: din 

etc etc.

You will notice that they will probably use rhyme first (rig-dig-pig-wig) until they become more confident. Then you can move on to always changing a different letter (rig-dig-fig - dug) and then you can go on to putting in digraphs (still cvc words though) (think-rink-ring-rang-rack-Rick etc). You'll be amazed how spelling and noticing interesting spelling patterns will result.

Don't forget library books on Friday so that you can include that all important reading for pleasure on your/their To Do list next week!

Mrs H



Thursday 6th October

Happy Birthday to me! And happy calendar month-old Squirrels’ class!

Has it only been a month since I met them properly and was smiled at and welcomed by you? Time flies when you’re having fun!

 And what fun we’re having!! This week continues to pack such a massive punch of learning, planned and unplanned.

Planned: Troll Swap in English. We finally discovered exactly what kind of swap Timothy and Tabitha did and how they fared (not well; it seems that being grateful for who you are and what you like is one key to being happy.)

Harvest poetry: we analysed the rhyme of Cauliflowers Are Fluffy and then made it our own poems (who knew that aubergines are ‘mellow’ when you are 5/6/7! 😊 ) then we published them by writing them up in neat for a reader to read and displayed it on our Let Your Writing Shine board which looks superb now. Hope you saw the Twitter photos – didn’t they all look so proud of themselves?

Maths: lots of place value. Y1 are looking at numbers to 20 and partitioning them into tens and ones and counting back, especially -1 from any number. This always foxes them a lot more than +1 so any opportunities to take 1 away at home…

Y2 have been partitioning numbers to 100 and once that was secure we did some flexible partitioning (41= 40 + 1/ 30+11/20 + 21) first with base 10 as the concrete resource then visually with PPW (part-part-whole ) diagrams and next will be more abstract using reasoning problems. (If I have 58 apples and I give 18 to some horses in the field, how many do I have left? How do you know? “I know this because…”)

Phonics: assessment week where we check how confident all the children are with our phonemes from the last month: ew. oe ir ay a-e e-e ea ey ie ou oy au wh ph. ue aw. We will be revising these for most of the next 6 weeks adding only a couple more GPCs (grapheme-phoneme correspondence= letter to sound). They will need to know these phonemes inside out for the Phonics Screening Check in June, particularly before we introduce alternative phonemes for known graphemes eg nice (not ‘i’ as tin, not ‘c’ as cat, not ‘e’ as ten!).

RE: Joseph still dominates our thoughts and prayers as we find out how he ended up in jail based on Potiphar’s wife’s lies. God has sent in the light to show Joseph not to despair and that He is with him.

Science: babies! Lots of animal babies and their parents to match and understand that humans and mammals have babies (rather than laying eggs).

Music: we do so much singing and dancing! Have they sung you ‘okki tokki unga’ yet? Have they shown you the Planet song? Or our Harvest Samba? #StrictlyHereWeCome

I am working up to getting the maracas out…

PE: tag rugby is such a hit with Mr Elton. They are learning to pass appropriately and catch (2 hands) as well as use ‘tactics’ to avoid being tagged. He’s a fab coach – we’re lucky to have him.

Story time books this week so far: Green Eggs & Ham, Goodnight Rainbow Cats, Smelly Louie.


Finding out about the different types of moon shapes – full moon, half moon, gibbous and crescent (I didn’t go into waxing and waning…!) so if they ask to spot the moon before bedtime, please encourage! Maybe they could keep a moon diary for a month (every few nights) and draw and label what they can see.

Learning how to turn a difficult situation into a ‘Win-Win’ where both sides can win. Harder than it sounds when the most important thing in your life is still often you! We met “Doodle’ (dog) who showed us that it is ok to say no sometimes when you think someone is going to be mean, disrespectful etc to you /your belongings. We also are spending time considering how we say things so that we show kindness and strength.

Oh the list could go on! I’ve not mentioned Harvest Festival practice, Happiness Club, assemblies, impromptu drawing, sticker books…Is it the weekend yet??!

(Hope to) See you in church at 9.30am for Harvest Festival.

Mrs H





Wednesday 28th September

2 blogs in one week! 

This week we have been reading anything and everything with lots of shared reading in English, phonics, every curriculum area really. Practising is that important! Prosody (sounding fluent with expression) aids comprehension; that is why it is easier for your child to answer a question when the text has been read to them - you are expert readers who use prosody! Keep reading to them, just try to make the book more challenging than they would read to themselves confidently. Starting from Friday, I will be encouraging 4+ reads a week with a motivational chart that may or may not have rewards attached to it so make sure you write in the Reading Log when your child reads to you and send in the log every Thursday and Friday.

Today we started to look at reading ahead. They know to pause every time they see 'the' and to read on (preferably in their heads) to the next word then go back and read out loud eg: When he sat down on (the)...the mat, (the)... the cat fell.  This is to stop pausing after each word so it doesn't sounds like: She-likes-the-green-one.  It was our first day today so give me a week to embed this. Then we will advance it with most determiners (a, some, a lot, many etc). One thing for you to help with is to see noun phrases so they know how far to read on after the 'the' eg: The+ fat+cat... It is not about speed and rushing the 'the + ' but trying not to pause after the 'the'. I will see if I can video me with a child reading in case this is not making much sense! Hopefully they will be able to explain and show you what we mean.

We are also doing a lot of predicting in our texts. We are reading 'Troll Swap' in English and 'The 3 Billy Goat Gruffs' and then 'The Troll' in reading. It is natural to want to look at the picture before you start reading, this is fine. What we don't want is a reliance on the pictures to guess words from context (a skill we used to teach but not now so much). Use the picture to predict what is happening/will happen and to extend their vocabulary; you'll be amazed at the words they know and the words they don't!  Encourage a detailed prediction that has some evidence (the troll's tongue is hanging out as if he wants to eat that troll and he is holding a fork.)

We have also learnt about the spine of a book and where to find the publisher's name. There are some interesting publishing companies out there! Start noticing.

This week's  phonemes are: split digraph a-e (same), e-e (Pete), ey (money/key/monkey/donkey/honey/Turkey are the main ones) and oe (toe). Phase 5 is all about finding alternative graphemes for known phonemes so we know 'ow' (snow) and now we are learning 'ou' (a proud cloud). I'll come back to split digraphs next week! And I will send an optional phonics/reading work sheet home to aim to put our new graphemes into long term brain storage.

Finally, maths is all about maintaining that 2D/3D knowledge and vocab whilst focussing on place value. We are learning to read a 100sq (get them to make one!) and understand what tens and ones actually mean. We use part-part-whole diagrams to show this (get them to draw one) and verbalise: 89 is the whole and 80 and 9 are the parts. 80 + 9 =89.  Year 1 focus on teen numbers, year 2 all the way to 100.

Finally, finally! Did you see the short but adorable video I posted on Twitter of them learning our class harvest song? #ShakeThoseSambaHipsSquirrels!  (Sorry I can't put loads more every day/week on Twitter. I'm pretty reasonable at the tech so I blame time and 'tinternet!)

Mrs H


Monday 26th September

Feeling autumnal yet? Sitting here under a blanket eeeking out the need to put the heating on, I am! I hope you like the new photo of the squirrel- what a beauty! And what a beautiful class I have. You say 'chatty', I say 'confident'; you say 'doesn't want to read or do homework', I say 'let's work out why'; you say 'comes home filthy!', I say 'fun-loving and energetic at playtimes so they can focus on learning the rest of the time!'

So here is another squirrel image for you that I want all my lovely children to feel they are becoming - inquisitive learners...

Look forward to seeing you at our class talk today.





Tuesday 13th September

Week 2 is going very well! We are well and truly getting stuck into learning- and enjoying it. Questions they may ask you:

  • What is a 2D shape called with more than 6 sides?
  • Show me a shape that is flat but 3D.
  • What is a 'yad' and why is it an important part of Judaism?
  • Who was Yuri Gagarin and what did he do that motivated the Americans?
  • How many different ways can you spell 'ir'? (answer for this week- 3! There are more, be kindly selective!)

And it is only Tuesday!

We are doing whole class reading (as well as individual readers) and I've introduced 'prosody'. This basically means reading with expresion and fluency so nothing actually new, just a posh word for it. It is an important part of being a reader because 1) the listener will tune out if there is no prosody 2) it massively helps comprehension. Here's how you can help:

  1. Your child reads their Oxford Owl reading book (because it is linked to their phonics).
  2. They read it again (and again). When you feel they are starting to memorise it, choose a page (s) and model how to read it, where do you automatically pause for that millisecond? Show them. Which words do you emphasise? Show them. They then read it out loud again trying to mimic your reading. They will be really good at this in time- just give me a few weeks or so! 
  3. Notice how much their comprehension of what they have read becomes more advanced because they are not having to focus on decoding - they are masters of this text- they can put all their focus on understanding.

Thank you for all your support and your smiling faces at home time. I appreciate it!

Mrs H




Tuesday 6th September

What a fab first 2 days! It's true what they say about time flying when you're having fun!

I hope your Squirrel has remembered some of what we have been doing. I also hope they are telling you how helpful they have been to me personally when something happens that I don't know everything about- yesterday the lunch hall queueing system! 

My primary focus for the whole week is to build excellent relationships with all the children by getting to know them individually (by spending as much time as I can with each child whether that be reading 1:1, chatting at playtime, eating lunch with them (...staring at my salad !) etc. They are also quickly picking up my expectations, especially those for behaviour for learning which makes me proud of them immensely. Let's get those lights shining very brightly this year!

Thank you for the scrap books. We are spending time all week sharing them and asking questions. It is one of my favourite times of the day. Your children are very lucky to have the opportunities you provide and your commitment to their learning. I have some Head Teacher stickers ready for each scrap book and then the unenviable job of choosing one book and clarifying why. Eeek! How to choose?!

Thank you also for your patience and smiling faces at the end of the day. Please wave if you feel I'm not seeing you. It will take me a few weeks to place your face to your child, but I'll get there!

Tomorrow is PE and I'm hoping to get some pictures of us for Twitter. Watch that space!

Mrs H



Tarporley CE Primary, Park Road, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 0AN

Tel: 01829 708188 | Email:

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