Mrs H's blog

Blog 20

Happy May half term!

And it is much needed. We've worked incredibly hard and even though it was 6 weeks, a lot of Rabbits were more 'crawly' than 'jumpy' this last week! Let's hope the weather helps us out and we can be outside to play. (I say that for myself as well as report-writing takes over my week!)

It was a shame about sports day having to be cancelled. It's never an easy decision but having tried to practise a few running races yesterday in PE, the wet paper towel consumption proved that it was too soggy after 5 minutes. We have needed to practise the relay; Mr Elton in Wednesday's PE was shaking (I presume with laughter not damaged nerves) after watching the class seem more interested in playing with the batons, inspecting the batons, throwing the batons than running with them; several came to a complete standstill making the phrase "Run Rabbit, RUN!" quite pertinent! #Parents& CarersToneDownYourCompetitveExpectations

We finished our English last week and wrote out our final piece of work in neat for our Let Your Writing Shine board which is now proudly displayed. We had very narrow lined paper and, oh my, the beautiful handwriting is indded something to be proud of. All those 8.45am kinetic handwritng lessons are paying off (thank you for your lack of tardiness getting them to school). Keep having high expectations for their handwriting at home as well. We have still done a lot of writing and English this week. We did a one-off lesson yesterday which was glorious! It was a wordless book called The Door and the inference we got from it was absolutely incredible. Some Rabbits are amazing a noticing small illustrative details that bring even more meaning to the text. I am very proud. And what I am noticing is the growing maturity with books- one girl had seen the book already and was able to listen to rather than tell her partner all the answers. I liked that.

We have done a lot of science, RE and arithmetic this week as well. Understanding materials in order to build several bridges with different materials was a fascinating study in physics and social, emotional dynamics. 2 children only wanted to draw the bridge, 2 wanted to collage one into a 2D version and several used their initiative (but went against the brief) to help themselves to equipment; some were amazing engineers, some rolled up their paper into what looked suspiciously like relay batons...

Thank you for your lovely comments after our class assembly. I didn't realise how nervous I was until afterwards (it was not a great dress rehearsal on Monday!). I hope you saw the joy of being a Rabbit and how confidently they said their words, sang and signed the songs. For me, this character-building element of school is just as important as the academic side and I loved how they let their light shine for you and themselves. 

So onwards and upwards to the final half term. I won't be using the 't' word (year Two) for a bit as I need them focused and ready to learn for a lot more brain acquisiton yet! I will blog about transition (we do A LOT) in a month or so. We have the important phonics screen check in a couple of weeks, loads of maths and English, science, RE.... (etc) to keep us focused on growing our brains. Check out our class page for more information (give me a few days to update it).

If you want half term learning ideas:

  1. practise rapid recall of doubles to 10 (they know a game called doubles wipe out )
  2. go to a library and encourage a different selection of books - fiction and non fiction
  3. get some thin lined paper/notebooks and practise their copy writing or make a little diary of the week. Focus- 1 idea=1 sentence (we will do conjunctions to join 2 ideas in Y2 when they really understand the true elements of a simple sentence)
  4. being out and about look around at the use of materials and their texture. We did some great crayon rubbing the other week.
  5. Spot split vowel digraphs in everyday objects (reading the cereal box, signs at the park etc).
  6. read to, read with, read, read, read!

As always, thanks for your support. Have a lovely week with your special Rabbit.

Mrs H



Blog 19

May the 4th be with you...

There have been a lot of blogs and letters about phonics so let's talk maths...

Our maths mastery is fab!  A short 20minute daily lesson that focuses on embedding learnt maths facts and strategies. The expectation this whole summer term is that they have rapid recall of number facts to 10 (and I mean ALL number facts from 3 to 10). How confident is your child at saying 5+3=8 without using fingers or objects to find the answer? We have spent all year learning and helping us we have used the rekenreks, lots of visuals (the programme likes birds of different colours!) and verbal repetition of 'stem sentences'. These are blanked out sentences that can be filled with any number fact eg
.... plus ... equals ...

... is made of ... plus ....

This week we learnt 4 for the price of 1:

5 + 3 = 8

3 + 5 = 8

8= 5+ 3

8 = 3+ 5

The programme layout meant that by day 2 they were getting the idea of putting the whole first and then the parts. Check with your child. Do they understand which number is the part and which is the whole or are they reandomly placing the 3 number bonds? 5= 8+3

We have started multiplication as well. We have been counting in 10s, 2s, 5s for several weeks in order to make multiplication a bit easier. Are they confidently counting to 100 in 10s and 5s (50 for 2s)? AND back?

I really like how the process is all about understanding what multiplication looks like. Years ago we went straight in with arrays and x number sentences; now it's recognising and adding equal groups before we touch arrays. So logical and a perfect foundation for really understanding what multiplication means (and will help considerably when we do division).

So, arrays...

an array is when you have rows and columns of stuff...

 X X X X

 X X X X

 X X X X

3 rows of 4,  4 + 4+ 4 =

or 4 columns of 3. 3+3+3+3=

* We have not done 3 x 4/4 x 3 yet

This week we have stuck to rows. It's been a challenge and we have had to keep using practical equipment to see the array before we went anywhere near counting. I worked with pairs of children on Thursday afternoon in order to consolidate our learning and make sure we were getting it before we can move on. As always we recited: the answer is this (--) important but the strategy and how we work it out is this (------------) important. 

How can you help at home?

  • keep practising counting on and back in 10s, 2s, 5s.
  • look out for natural arrays around (egg boxes, tins of beans, yoghurt pots...) and get them to see the row and repeated addition.
  • get them to tell you what we did and practise at home. (I used dots and we worked out the rows and wrote the addition number sentence. )

The next couple of weeks we are doing measure.

Expect them to be able to tell the you the difference between capacity, volume and mass.We will do lots of practical investigations, lots of visuals and lots of weighing and filling containers! 

How can you help at home?

  • start showing them the measuring labels on food and drink so they start to see the difference in millilitres vs litres, kilograms vs grams (stick to metric. UK2 deal with metric/imperial conversion)
  • use weighing scales - for anything! Great to make a cake and get them to weigh out ingredients of course but just having them out and them being able to work out 'heavier/lighter' is a massively underrated maths skill that is the foundation of understanding measure.
  • full vs empty and degrees in between. It might seem simple but again it is the foundation of all capacity measuring. The language of litres is not everyday language. Aim to make it! Let them play with water. Get containers in the bath and see how many cups is needed to fill the larger plastic bottle with an estimation first. Even discussing how to fill the larger container is a worthy dicussion and will bring into play our science of fair testing (same cup size, same way to fill the bottle, consider spillage etc).

Right off to practise my volume or white I wonder?!

Happy Mayday weekend. See you Tuesday.

Mrs H


25 April/blog 18

I've really enjoyed our first two weeks back. The children and I obviously had a refreshing break and were raring to go. Today the tiredness started to hit a little but they kept going with our learning.

In English we are looking at prefixes and suffixes, specifically un- / -er /-est. We have done a lot of vocab building this week related to our text (feelings other than sad and happy) and our topics. This could carry on at home as it always surprises me how many words they don't always understand in a picture book. Try not to ask: What does ... mean?' because it is hard to explain a word if you are not sure exactly what it means. 

As we move to comparisons, the grammar patterns are quite confusing!  If an adjective has one syllable, we add -er (small- smaller) but sometimes we double the consonant (big-bigger); if an adjective has 3 or more syllables, we use 'the more' (beautiful- more beautiful). It is has 2 syllables, sometimes we add the suffix and sometimes we use more (lovely- lovelier) (creased - more creased). Don't you just love the English language!  Talking about language, I hope you read the blog about split vowel digraphs. More info to come early next week.

We enjoyed hearing about Islam from one of our Rabbits this week as we start our new RE topic. We made links with our prior knowledge of Christianity and next week we will do some recording in books and look into more depth at the 5 Pillars of Islam.

In geography they learnt what a compass is and north, east, south, west (I know it doesn't sound quite right to say it like that rather than 'north, south, east, west' but you can imagine the problems I was anticipating with learning that!). We will be using the compass to consider map work as well as bringing it into RE and why Muslims in the UK need to know the direction of Mecca in order to be facing the right way for prayers. Miss Jones and I also noticed that BeWILDerwood uses maps and compass directions so we will utilise all this knowledge!

I wonder if you are a master of maths? We are loving our mastery lessons. I liken it to phonics for maths. We have been looking at 11-15 and making it very clear that it's ten and a bit, not a one. Today we looked at number lines and how to work out where the 5 goes (0-10) and 10 (0-20 line) not counting in 1s but looking for the midpoint. Clever right? Something so simple but so effective in maths fluency. We have also started counting in 2s, 10s and 5s and trying to learn  them off by heart to 50 or 100. We're getting there!  Counting back is more challenging so as much practice as you can at home please.

Have a great weekend.

Mrs H


21st March 2024 blog 17

We did our English final writing (assessment) piece this week. We kept writing a diary as if we were Major Dizzy. I used the book, our own story plan and we rehearsed and rehearsed until we were confident to go and write it as independently as possible. They've done well and it's showing great progress. I am looking forward to them writing it in neat and enjoying the finished product on the Let Your Writing Shine Board.

Mr Brown came and watched our maths mastery lessons this week and was pleased to see how it is working well on their maths fluency. This week's focus has been seeing the pattern of adding / subtracting 2 to an odd and an even number, chanting: Add 2 to an even number and you get the next even number. (etc) The more they can see these patterns and learn them, the greater their solving mathematical problems will be. The other work in maths has been to see the pattern of adding a 10 eg

I know 3 + 4 = 7

so I know 13 + 4 = 17 (because I am just adding a ten)

Have you heard of my embarrassing/funny story? A Rabbit handed me a box of eggs telling me they were for me and how delicious they are and how their own chickens laid them etc. I was very touched with the kindess and enjoyed one of the said eggs for breakfast the next day. At home time I approached the Mum saying did you get my note of thanks about the eggs? She replied- you mean his show n tell? I ATE his show n tell!  Will I ever live it down?? Parents, I did not do or go anywhere near show n tell today.

Here's to a fab last week of term, a much-needed unwind and enthusiastic return to the summer term (with your Easter bonnets).

Mrs H



9th March 2024 blog 16

This week has been stupendously studious. The children are truly working consistently at a Y1 level of curriculum and embracing it (rather than me working harder than them !). Spring term is all about growth and I love seeing the immense progress that becomes so apparent. We have 3 more weeks to go and we are putting the foot down hard on that academic accelerator!

Our new Pathways book is Major Glad and Major Dizzy. It's an interesting book that would probably not leap out at you on a book shelf but we're loving it. The 2 soldiers' life from 1870 to present day is catalogued through pictures and text. It links perfectly with our history topic and also helps with consolidating learning about London. We talked briefly about the Blitz (partly thanks to one event in the book and partly thanks to Ophelia who had a lot to say about the 'itz' the day before) which I hope they will remember in y6. Maybe.

We are able to use our working memories more effectively these days so writing sentences from a model and with a word bank is not the hard work it was in the autumn term. We can now start to focus more on presentation of our writing. Feel free to enforce this at home. I'm looking for consistent kinetic letters which are gradually reducing in size, a starting point (margin) and when they make a mistake, they know how to deal with it so the reader is not confused or in any way losing the thread of the sentence. I model again and again how to rehearse and read back the sentence and they are beginning to do the same. My job is joyful!

Amelia in Major Glad, Major Dizzy is quite naughty (a Victorian girl forced to sew and be dainty who wants to play soldiers and marbles with her younger brother and isn't allowed. Think I'd be quite naughty!). So our story time text is Naughty Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton. I wondered if they would enjoy the listening to me trying to remember all the character voices and few illustrations but they really do; although she is 'dreadfully naughty' as Enid would say so what's not to like! It can be a great idea to read along with a reader so if you have the book or want to buy it, send it in with them so they can follow as I read. I have borrowed a couple of the other Amelia Jane series from Nantwich libraray so this could last the rest of the term.

While we are on books, our No Outsiders learning this half term has a focus of celebrating our differences. The differences include cultural, physical, any! I love how 5-6 year olds don't really see some differences within their friends. If only the world were that accepting!

World Book Day was wonderful. Thank you for your dedication to the cause. I hope you have been able to spend your voucher. I read 2 glorious quotes about reading today that I will leave you with:

'A love of reading is the biggest indicator of future academic success.' (The OECD- the organisation of economic cooperation and development)

'Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.' Emilie Buchwald

Happy mother's day to all you. Hope the cards we made remain in tact!

Mrs H


18th February

I'm having not inconsiderable trouble uploading our zoo photos onto our class page so bear with. As soon as I upload and save one then it seems to delete the last one! I'll keep trying. I have a powerpoint of about half the pictures...

It was a great day- no rain, not too cold; the only complaining was about when we were going to have lunch (we gave in at 11.25). They walked and walked and ran and ran and gawped and giggled. We read lots of the information points, used the map and tried to show respect to the members of the public. #Rabbits did good!

So onto spring 2 half term. We teachers are just putting finishing touches to the planning. The synopsis on our class page is ready for you to browse. There's a lot to do in 5 weeks particularly in maths. Any extra practice you can do to help embed the new number facts will really help. Here's what they will be learning:

I know 3 + 4 = 7 so if I add a ten, I also know 13+ 4 = 17 and 3 + 14 = 17.

19 + 1= 20, 18 + 2 = 20, 17 + 3 = 20 etc (off by heart and inside out!)

I know my doubles to 6 so now I will learn to 10 +10 

I know my doubles to 10 so now I can work out near doubles eg I know 4 + 4 = 8, so 4+5=9

I know my addition number facts to 20 so I can work out subtraction number facts. (20- 1 = 19, 20- 2 = 18)

Phonics is still full on with new GPCs but definitely less common ones than the ones we've learnt so far. All fabulously useful for understanding the code. I mentioned Best Bets to a few people at parents' eve, here it is:

I want to spell that word that means I hurt myself and I have a purpley-blue mark on my skin. I know that oo (food), ue (blue), u-e (huge), ui (cruise), ew (few) make the right sound so now I need to write it using each of these GPCs and see if the dictionary part of my brain that grows when I read a book can spot the right one...

broose   brues   bruse   brews   bruise

We talk about where in the word the phoneme often goes which can help to rule out one or 2. If they get it wrong, no big deal, strike it off and have another guess. They really liked playing this game last week. I used words that they had seen before. Maybe you could play this after they have read their book? I'll aim to get a Grow The Code and accompanying notes to you week 1 (#MakingALongListOfToDosThisWeek!).

On the subject of parents' evening, thank you so much for coming. It was lovely to see you and be able to spend 10mins talking about your Remarkable Rabbit. Please keep coming to me at the end of the day (I have until 3.30 most days before meetings start) so any future problems remain small.

Right, enough from me; back to the photos...

See you on the 26th.

Mrs H

p.s. Isn't the below the funniest picture! And it was posed for! Clearly when we said cheese, they went straight to lunch time thoughts!




Thursday 1st Feb. Blog 14

Finally it's February, right! Hoping to make it fabulous for the Rabbits with your continued support. Thanks!

I'm thinking maths focus for this blog. We are still on place value (What does a number really mean? What makes that number? How do we write that number accurately every single time? Have we learnt all its number bonds so we don't need to use our fingers for 8+ 1 or 6+ 3 or 4+ 5, we just know these are number bonds of 9). We are into teen numbers now. Have you thought about how hard these numbers are for learners? Here are the anticipated errors that Remarkable Rabbits will probably make at some point this term:

  • say 'ty' instead of 'teen'
  • hear 'ty' instead of 'teen'
  • confuse the ones and the tens number (eg understand '16' but write 61 because of the 'six' then 'teen')
  • confuse 61/16 in understanding, not 'seeing' that the tens number dominates the ones number in amount.
  • be working so hard on one element of the maths (writing the numbers accurately in formation, understanding which number to write due to its place value, knowing its 'teen' not 'ty') that some other elements will get lost and wrong.
  • they don't see that the 0 gets covered up by the ones number and write 106
  • we say the ones number before the tens number for 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 unlike any other number above 20 (thank our historical linguistic divergence!)
  • we have to learn to spell these numbers (think eleven, twelve, thirteen, fifteen)

So we are spending time really trying to embed all the elements we need to understand before we tackle + -.

Here are a few ideas of how you can support at home:

  1. see below image of a typical worded maths problem. This is the kind of thing I mean when say: try to do some maths word problems at home, not particularly in this written way but talking it through. I spend every lesson emphasizing "the answer is this -- important, the strategy is this ------------- important". Year 2 and beyond is all about writing their reasoning for an answer. In year 1 we must be confident in verbalising it (then we write it after a lot of help). Today we had lots of different answers for the below problem: he has 1 ten and 5 ones so it is 15 not 51/10 +5 = 15 not 51/he doesn't have 5 tens and 1 one, he has 1 ten and 5 ones etc etc
  2. Play games. Here's a new one: dice and a piece of paper with 10 on it. Roll the dice and write the number (accurately! Insist on this, so many Rabbits already have embedded errors of how to write some numerals) and place it over the '0' and say the new number and how you know. This is 18.I know this because it has 1ten and 8 ones. Repeat a few times a couple of times a week. 
  3. Use the dice again and play a variation of Bingo/wipe out. Each of you have the number line 11-16 written down, roll the dice and add it to the ten, saying what it is. Turn over the card once you have it. Even though you are not using 17-19, understanding the place value of 11-16 will make the 17-19 dead easy.
  4. Choose a teen number and consider all its number bonds using Part Whole pictures or number sentences. Can they make more than 10? Bring them in for a sticker in their sticker book!

In other news briefly... we are ramping up to our final 'writeaway' (the assessment piece of writing at the end of each half term) of The Lion Inside. We will be writing a simple recount of the story, hopefully with one maybe two exclamation marks (although they are starting to go a bit wild with this, so rein them in with me!!!! #;) #UseWordsForEffectNotMultiple!) We will do this over 3-4 days and I will recap and model the paragraphs and give them a word bank and lots of verbal rehearsal time before they write independently.

We are growing our code SO much this term with loads of new GPCs. This week has been: al and le for 'l', se for 's' and 'z' (cheese), ce for 's' (nice) . Tricky words have been (wait for this ...)- school, friend, through and thought. We got very excited learning a quadgraph - ough. (I didn't want to crush them with thorough/though/tough...year 2 can deal with those!)

Next week is a Grow the Code revision week before our half termly assessment so keep reading daily please. 

Speak/See you soon for our parents' evenings.

Mrs H






21st January/blog 13

Thanks to you for managing to come to our geography lesson on Thursday- such a crowd! I hope you enjoyed not only working with your Remarkable Rabbit but also having a glimpse into their Y1 life. Our next few lessons are about 'where in the world?' and we look at the UK as part of a continent and the world, then we start to find out about Shanghai- comparing and contrasting geographical features. We will miss Mr Webster a lot as he lived in China for almost 3 years but he has sent me a video of him talking about his Chinese life and has co-erced got his old TA to send a video message as well!

In science and RE we are also considering the world. In science we are focusing on what is a man made vs physical feature and how the seasons in the UK change. They were fascinated to learn of my Indonesian experiences of only 2 seasons per year - dry and wet! It is interesting how hard they find the calendar and months and seasons. They understand what it is now but find it hard to relate to the past so several could not place Christmas, Easter or their holiday with a month. We will be re-doing this then investigating nature's way of changing in the seasons.

The RE slant with the world is how it all began according to Christians and Humanists with a little Saint Francis of Assisi thrown in. We have  a gorgeous poem to learn to help us understand God's work over the seven days.

I took a load of lovely winter sun photos the other day of our Remarkable Rabbits. Some I hope to put on Twitter/X but in case you don't really do that, I've uploaded some to this class page. You have to wait a bit for the rotation (as I just can't bear to delete the September photos off!) but they look happy and full of life, right? Below are 3 shots: 1 blowing kisses. 2 very Victorian. 3. whatever you like.   Love 'em all!

Mrs H




Spring term

Firstly why is it called spring term when most of it is in winter?  Wishful thinking? Or do you love those cold, damp mornings and huddle around the fire evenings? Well there was no huddling or dampness going on in the Rabbits' classroom this week! We had a great week 1, full of promise, hard work and getting back into the established routines. And a lot of coughs and yawns!

In English we will continue on our mission for the holy grail of sentence construction understanding. subject and verbs galore with an 'and' thrown in here and there. I want them to feel confident in knowing that:

VERBS: was/is/were/are/has/had 

SUBJECTS: I you they we she he we 

Of course we will be looking at lots of other subjects and verbs but knowing these will give them a huge step forward in their writing. 

What can you do? You can 'spot the subject of this sentence' in their Little Wandle book every so often (pick your sentence carefully) or change the subject to see if it still makes sense. But mostly you can talk about the author's choice- why that word, why not repeat the 'he' here etc.

In phonics it is full steam ahead with phase 5 alternate graphemes. This week we had:

y (yellow vs tiny)

ou (loud vs boulder)

ea (egg vs spread- although we also had to differentiate from 'each')

wh (wig vs which)

Our tricky words were: any, many, again, water, want. Can you find the tricky bit? (Little Wandle call it 'tricky' because they have not been taught that part of the code yet so any used to be tricky because of the grapheme 'a' being the phoneme 'e' and the grapheme 'y' being the phoneme 'ee'. Now of course we know about the GPC 'y' as 'ee' so that is no longer a tricky part. Yeeha! )

I am putting together something so that you can have a copy of Grow The Code at home as soon as the children are more confident in using it.

Talking of confidence, wow what a difference a break makes!  This week's writing has been great! Not too challenging in the tasks but they have let their light shine and are embracing the skill of writing so much more now. To the point that I could introduce the green pens for corrections. So I mark in purple and will guide them to find their mistakes and they will use green pen to correct them. 

In maths we are looking at what makes 10 and using numbers to 20. They asked me to tell you about the game that we played. I drew a track on some paper and wrote numerals 11-20 around it. They then had a dice (they have one of those now!) and a counter and made their way around the track, remembering to jump off the square. Some tracks were in 11-20 order, some were random. Firstly they had to write the numeral in words (Y1 objective: to read and write numbers 0-20 in numerals and words accurately), then we played it so that we chose one number and then had a play off- whoever landed on that number first was the winner. It was a little raucous as they kept beating me (I blame a dodgy dice). 

Next week I will tell you about RE, science and ICT. I hope you can come to our curriculum day at 2pm on Thursday when we will be doing our weekly geography lesson. This week we learnt about what is a man-made vs natural physical feature, this coming Thursday will be simple map work and then Shanghai! I have been in touch with Mr Webster (currently on his KS2 placement but back with us in May) who lived in China and he is making us a little video and photo montage of his time. Miss Jones and I went to Winsford to pick some Rachel Bright books and I found some great bilingual texts so the children can see what mandarin looks like. 

See you tomorrow and Thursday!

Mrs H


Thursday 14th December

I don't know where to start, it has been such a glorious week!

Our Hayrack Farm Christmas Trip

Rabbits are so lucky to have so many school trips each year! Certainly in my last school a Christmas trip was unheard of. Shame because the 2 I have been on since teaching in Tarporley have been wonderous! We arrived early for our coach and slightly early for the opening of Hayrack (I think Santa was behind schedule) and were ready and very willing to get going with our Santa letter, our Christmas tree decorating and then visit the great man himself. He was fab! The children looked as if they were experiencing true magic. We then went to feed the animals which was an exercise in life skills- dodging the escapee hen, staring down the goats, patiently waiting to stroke the donkeys and giggle at the pigs (with an errant hen on its back). As is customary on any school trip, the 'is it lunchtime yet?' question started about 10.30 but when we did finally get to it, they sat and ate beautifully. We then had plenty of time to explore the play areas. I loved watching a few children who initially were reluctant to climb on certain pieces of equipment who within 30mins were virtually running up and over it! The staff were very complimentary about the children's behaviour and manners. Golden Book here we come, Rabbits! Thank you to the lovely Mummy helpers who proved completely invaluable on the day as usual. 


Our Nativity

How proud are we! Didn't they do well? After our rowsing circle time in the afternoon talking about how we feel (nervous, scared, really scared, excited, very very excited), they managed any stage fright amazingly well and looked like they were thoroughly enjoying it. Mrs Line said that there was a perfect balance of sentiment, humour and joy. I hope so. I was certainly bursting with pride that they had not only pulled it off but revelled in it. Next stop, class assembly!  Thank you for bringing back the costumes today so we can sort, wash and store.


Doubles Wipeout

A fab game for you to play at home. 

You will need 1 dice, a bit of paper and a pencil.

  1. Make a tic-tac-toe/Noughts and Crosses board for each player
  2. Take it in turns to roll the dice. Whatever number you roll, double it and write it in one of your squares.
  3. Keep going until all players have filled all the 9 boxes. (Whatever you roll and double, write it in even if you end up with 3 squares of one number)
  4. Now take it in turns to repeat the rolling and doubling but this time you can 'wipe out' if your double appears on your board.(only wipe out one number at a time even if you have multiples of that number.) If it doesn't appear, you can't go.
  5. Continue until the first person has wiped them all out. You can keep going until everyone is finished or start a new game.
  • Expect them to know the doubles 1-6.
  • Start asking them- What number do you need to roll to wipe the numbers you have left? (3 and 4 and 1. I know this because double 3 is 6 and I have a 6 here...)
  • variation: number bonds to 10. Instead of doubling the number, write down its number bond eg roll a 6, write down 4, roll a 1, write down 9.
  • If you can't find a dice, get strips of paper and put them into a jar/hat to keep pulling out.

Business As Usual

Although expectation is a little lighter this week, our learning timetable remains and will do until Wednesday afternoon. I will keep the routine in order to help them deal with the fever of the time of year. Today we did : phonics, reading, maths mastery, library, maths, RE and some choosing. We just about managed half of the show and tells, collective worship, story and Ray of the day. There is such a lovely feeling in the class at the moment even with the tiredness and oh so many germs! They have come a long way this term and I am proud of every single one of them.

This is probably the last blog of the year so a final word of thanks to you for your smiles when I open the door, your support with all things school-related, especially the home reading and of course letting me borrow your child to help grow their brain!

Seasons' greetings

Mrs H

hoppy Christmas.png


Thursday 7th December 2023

This week has been mostly nativity practice and English independent writing and lots of rain!

We went to St Helen's on Wednesday for our first proper run through and we were very pleasantly surprised at how confidently they all remembered what to do and when to come on. They were pretty patient as we put up the stage, sorted seating places and got the tech working. I am excited for our dress rehearsal tomorrow (Friday). Not so excited about getting them in their costumes but hey ho (or should I say ho, ho, ho?). I hope you all got the information about next Wednesday in today's text/email. Please get in touch if you have any questions (ie siblings can come as long as they don't take a seat! Or you can use one of your tickets on them of course. Please be mindful of the performers and their 'moments' and plan suitable noise mufflers! ) A real thank you to the mum who took the time to say thanks in advance. It is quite an undertaking doing anything like this! 

The reading challenge is now fully underway. Reading Records were collected in this morning and reads over the last 7 days at home were counted and names moved on. The lure of 50 house points is quite something! For me the lure is greatly competent Y1 readers who learn to love reading. Keep going. I don't need loads of notes about how they got on each read (although I do read them all and try to comment most weeks) so feel free to date and sign. #BusyBusy

As you may have seen on Twitter/X, there is a video of the Remarkable Rabbits doing some independent writing based on our book, Katie In London. We know loads about London landmarks now! If you get the chance to visit over the next few months, it would really make them come to life. Let them tell you the itinerary! Ok, so they may ask to see Queen Elizabeth I's tomb or Traitor's Gate or the Changing of the Guard and they may well expect one of the Trafalgar Square lions to come alive but what a city! We were tour guides this week so maybe they could do a tour guide non-fiction leaflet about Tarporley or Chester over Christmas?

Time to check trip preparations now. Please don't send them in with gloves for our trip. You know when you have a really large amount of socks to match up ...well that's been me this week with gloves. #NotFun. They may need scarves and hats or wellies if this rain persists but they will be busy and having too much fun to fiddle with gloves and I really don't like losing things at a place I won't get them back. I'll put pictures on X for you and maybe on our class page as well.

Show n tell is next week - something you're proud of.

I'll just point to them as my show n tell!

Mrs H



Blog 9

25th November 2023

I hope you enjoyed our parent progress meetings as much as I did. It was lovely to be able to tell you so much positive stuff about your child. And there is a lot of positive stuff to say. The class as a collective has come a long way even since October half term. I am proud of them!

It feels as if Christmas has hit this week. Maybe it is the village decorations or that we are doing our Christmas craft for this Friday's Christmas fair or that nativity practices are well under way, but there is a frisson of excitement; it is both wonderful and challenging! What is more life-affirming than seeing excitement through the eyes of 5 & 6 year olds? Challenging because good behaviour choices can get lost in the excitement. Good job they have great role models in the Rabbits' staff who focus on praising all those good choices yet keep boundaries tight so children feel at ease and regulated. 

Self-regulation is huge, isn't it? Even for us adults at times! In Rabbits we work hard to improve our choices. We work on positive reinforcement so that children want to do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do and that they enjoy the praise and recognition (until they need it less and less from an adult and can give it to themselves). We have stickers (do they eat them?? They don't seem to have them at 3.20!), housepoints, the Golden book, our red sticker books (expect a full one every 1.5 academic years) and of course lots of love. 

Talking of house points and sticker books...we are launching our Reading Challenge on Monday. Your child's reading progress relies on learning the code and practice. The code comes thick and fast in reception and Y1 and practice is daily. You listening to them read at least 5 times a week will move their learning on without a doubt, especially with our Little Wandle books that should provide confident (almost memorised) reading as they have read that book at least 3 times with us in school. So with that in mind, every time they read to you (even if for 5mins) and you write it in their reading record, they will move through the reading challenge display towards the 50 target reads goal. At that point they get a whopping 50 housepoints, a red sticker and a heap of cheers! They will then start again with another reward at the end until the reward is part but not the whole point, reading for pleasure because they can, is. Reading records will be checked on Mondays and/or Thursdays so please send them in. (I will also be encouraging the children to record that they read to you.

So what was I saying about Christmas feeling close? Oh yes, see you at 6 on Friday at the fair, antlers at the ready!

Mrs H



Blog 8

11th November

Autumn 2 week 1 was a success! It was lovely seeing you at Book Look; it was even lovelier watching the pride on your child's face and in their words as they showed you their work. It made my day. Hope it made yours. #TakeTheJoy!

In English we are reading a story book which has Katie and her brother zooming around London landmarks so we are learning to write a non-chronological report (basically fact sentences). Our focus for the whole of the year will be simple sentence structure so they can confidently understand where a full stop goes. They are already reciting:

Capital letter, subject, verb, finish the idea, full stop.

Now to understand the grammar of subjects and verbs... It is easy to say that a verb is a 'doing' word but that's too ambiguous (are/love/believe/has/were?) so I will be teaching that a verb is 'done by the subject' (we can leave active and passive voice to y5!). So learning what a subject is, is paramount. Most of the time our subjects will be: I , you, we, he, she, it, they, the+..., a+..., some +... . Typically children will guess it is the first word in a sentence and often it is - in Y1, but we cannot create that misconception because they will be reading books that start with adverbials (eg Soon, Before, After tea etc) and conjunctions (When, Because, Before, If etc). A way of helping at home would be to use their Little Wandle book and on one page tell them: turns is the verb, who is doing the turning because that is the subject

Whilst on the subject of the huge importance reading plays in education...Mystery Reader. If you fancy a slot, email or phone the office ( and we'll fit you in. Fridays 3pm. My only requests are: no David Walliams picture books please (see previous email as to why!). 

History has been  a large learning element this week. We looked at fashions throughout Queen Elizabeth II's reign and then considered which one was our personal favourite. Who knew that 70s moustaches would be so popular with the Rabbits! Isn't it (moustache) Movember? Will be now!

Our Victorian Day was a success. Mrs Hardcastle (me) was a bit strict and liked using the cane it seems; the children played the part well and some really enjoyed joining in the 10mins of acting. We had to do lots of copy writing from the board and were not allowed to speak. Fortunately no one had to do lines or get suspended from the punishment basket although Miss Bougen did have to wear the dunce's hat for a few minutes. Next time you are out of the front of the school, let's point out the Victorian part of our school building and other village Victorian landmarks.

And finally, some ideas for presents that will grow their brain:

  • Shut the box - fab for maths rapid recall of all number bonds. It's an old pub game and can be played with any number of players.
  • A deck of cards- fab for fine motor practice of shuffling (we've learnt this) and playing patience (we've done clock patience) as well as snap etc. Hundreds of game possibilities!  (Check out Home Bargains or The Works for packs about £1.
  • cluedo- for counting the squares (effectively a number line) and reasoning in maths- why are you going to the study? etc
  • teacher role play set (I'd include a whiteboard and pens, pads for register etc, a Ray of the day book and small teddy, card to make phonics flashcards, ID badge on a necklace for getting through the doors, whistle (maybe not!), story book, purple marking biro, paper for them to make their own daily timetable and digit cards etc
  • (junior) scrabble is great but pretty hard so I'd wait a couple of years; but most board games like frustration are great. I have bought in Connect 4 and played it with them all this week and they loved it.
  • If that doesn't float your boat, you can always kit yourselves out with SPencer Bear merch... (M&S).   :) haha, cute!

Happy weekend. Mrs H.

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Blog 7

I know it's autumn but all these wet plays...really?!  Let's hope this next week is less soggy. We've certainly got a lot to do. The phonics assessments are almost done. These are Little Wandle assessments based on the revision we've been doing this half term and the new y1 digraphs we've learnt (ay, oy, ea, ou). The whole of Y1 phonics is about rapid recall of alternative GPCs. That means they know 'sheep in a jeep' is 'ee' and now I will teach them it could be : ea (treat), y (Penny), ie (Ollie), e-e (these). There are a lot! But Little Wandle is very good at introducing then doing lots of practice. I will send home your own copy of our 'Grow the Code' with ideas of what to use it for and for you to see how amazing your child's brain is! I will need your help to make sure they recognise these alternate GPCs (ea, ie, y, e-e etc) and are able to keep up with the rigorous schedule. It is already having a positive effect on the Y2 children who did this last year, not only in their reading but in their spelling.

We will also be doing a lot of writing this week. We will finish reading our book, Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. I am using all our stories as a way of teaching in-depth comprehension and vocabulary. We were looking at feelings last week and considering words such as delighted, confused, disappointed. We used the story to work out why these were good word choices and how we can tell. I am using 'disappointed is part of the sad feeling family and it means ....' . Vocab is SO important in a child's academic development and you'll be amazed how many words they don't really know. (This is one of my reasons for not liking David Walliams as an author- he uses a wide range of vocab and does to some extent use the context to help explain it but if children are reading these books independently and not seeking help to understand so many words, they are not learning from them.  The discussions you can have around Author's Choice of words is huge in growing their brain - at any level of literature. #KeepReadingToYourChild). This week the children will be re-writing the story. They will each have a few pictures from the story and a word mat and each day I will model how to write each little section of the story using the pictures and the word mat. They will then write the first sentence with me and go to their tables to copy that sentence and write the rest of the paragraph. This is a different procedure to how they have done end of half term writing before as they often had 1:1 or very small group work whilst the others were playing. Year 1 now though and they are ready. They are fab!

Have you booked your pupil progress meeting appoinment? On my last check 20 of you had- thanks. I will talk about what you want to talk about but my notes are about how they present in school - socially, emotionally and academically. I will give you an idea of how on track they are to meet end of year 1 expectations (not set in stone!)   and give you an idea of their short term targets for autumn 2 in reading, writing and maths. We have 10mins and I apologise now if we get cut off before we've really finished. If you have concerns, I'll give you a chance to raise them at the beginning of our conversation as that will be priority. The first few appointments will be in school then I will dash home to complete the rest. I'm looking forward to our chat- I have so much positive to say about your child! As part of his course requirements Mr Webster would like to listen in on the first few appointments on Monday and Thursday. Please let me know if you are uncomfortable with that as I can get him to make us a hot drink and do some prep outside of the classroom.

No blog next week- I'll be up to my eyes with assessments and prep for the new half term. I did have a parent mention that some Christmas present ideas that are fun and educational might go down well so I'll start making a list and put that in a future blog. In the meantime here's a game to play (we've done it in class so they should be able to tell you how to play it).

Get 20 counters/bits of pasta/lego. Take it in turns to take 1 or 2 of the 'stuff' until there is 1 left over. The person who is left having to take the last bit loses that game. Repeat. (We have found it a little challenging to lose to be honest. But the more you play, the more you start to see a strategy and hopefully realise that losing helps you learn and the more you play...) . If they are getting that, you can start to challenge them with taking 1, 2 or 3 bits. Enjoy!

Mrs H


Well hello week 6... and what a week it will be!

We have our Harvest Festival on Tuesday (2pm St Helen's). We had a successful practice on Friday. Although I have to say parading down the High Street with my birthday crown on felt ludicrous, funny and warmed my heart as my remarkable rabbits went all out making me feel special. Miss Bougen, Mrs Hamlett and Mrs Palmer had helped along the way and I was truly touched. Not quite as touched as the balloons were and had to be quietly taken away before another one popped and aged me far more than the 1 year that I was anticipating that day! But back to the Harvest Festival. There will be songs and dancing and prayers and art. And staff trying to orchestrate it all wishing for an invisibility cloak to help facilitate smooth transitions. Be patient with us! It's quite a big thing for the Y1s to handle in many ways. The rabbits seemed to take it all in their stride during the practice but once in front of you... I'm just going to keep breathing and enjoy it; hope you do too.

Mrs Forrester came in to watch a history lesson last week and was blown away with the whole class' learning behaviour and enthusiasm for learning. We are learning about significant changes in history. We have chosen to look at the reigns of our 3 longest serving queens and last week we considered the technological changes during Queen Elizabeth II's reign. They were generally horrified that there were only 3 channels on TV for a long time, that children's tv was at dinnertime and that phones had cords so you couldn't wander too far! Can't wait for the Victorian discoveries!  This week we will look at the changes in fashion from the 50s to the 2000s. No one had better ask me if I remember those first Elizabethan decades! 

This week we will be learning how to use a rekenrek. Here is one:



They are completely brilliant maths tools for developing 'automacity' in number - basically children 'seeing' how numbers are made up. We will use it for place value (how do you make 14), doubles, number bonds- as soon as we've learnt that it is not a toy. There are a number of 'rules' (because hey Christmas is round the corner and how fab would this be at home for years of great maths!): white on the right; tool noise not toy noise; push (eg 1 push 3 OOO, not O     O      O). By the end of the week I am expecting every child to be able to command their rekenrek, have started to learn number bonds to 5 off by heart and to develop their (YR) understanding of the concept of Part Part Whole or hopefully in the concept of 5 any number of parts.  It's going to be fun!

We have also started Phase 5 of Little Wandle which is all about reading longer words and those many, many alternative GPCs. Last week we learnt that WOW Owl can be written with 'ow' and 'ou', that Tail in the rain can be 'ai' and 'ay', that Boing, boing can be 'oi' and 'oy'. They will come thick and fast so keeping up is imperative. I will be doing some assessments by the end of the week and next week so I can see who needs extra support to keep up.

And then it will be our Pupil Progress meetings :) I will focus on academic information and will tell you whether I predict they will be meeting the age-related expectations for Y1 and what we can both do to move everything forward. Forgive me now if the tech cuts us off!

On that note! Time for tea. Looking forward to this week!

Mrs H



Week 3 done and progress in learning behaviour and expectations is going very well. Mrs Forrester popped in a couple of times and was impressed with their listening and attention (we were on the carpet having a chat about respecting our 'stuff'). We've increased our curriculum subjects this week so that we have had 4 English, 5 phonics, 3 reading practices, 5 maths, a history, a science and RE. That is also not including learning our Harvest Festival songs, Collective Worship, Go Noodle, Relax kids, story time and Ray of the Day time. Busy, busy, busy...but we're here to learn so...

Reading will continue to be the focus of our term. Reading opens the door to everything else. Who doesn't want a strong reader in their child? Little Wandle is doing its job beautifully in giving us quality books, quality instruction and quality outcomes but in the end once you know the code, it's all about practice, practice, practice. As you can see from the diagram, doing 20mins reading most days has a huge impact on your child's literacy development. Ignore the percentile bit, very American school system but you get the drift. If you need any help with your home reading routine, please let me know.  Right, time to plan some more lessons...

Mrs H


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Friday 15th September
Week 2 done! Wow, these weeks are already flying by! Would it surprise you to learn that the KS1 team spent almost 2 hours yesterday planning this term in more detail? We have pencilled in dates for harvest and nativity practices and a dress up day; we have looked at how to make sure that as many children as possible are 'keeping up' in phonics (we need your home reading help with this as well please), maths and writing; we have altered library days and considered our Friday PE slots. Busy, busy!
So it won't come as a surprise that today in music the Remarkable Rabbits will be starting to learn our own harvest song. We are being ambitious as there may be musical instruments involved! We are also doing a few weeks of Forest School with Mrs Palmer alongside our PE curriculum, autumn being such a great season for noticing changes.
This week has been ace. They have been ace. We have learnt about 3D shapes- cone, spere, cylinder, cube and cuboid. The learning point has been to recognise the different shapes, talk about their properties- 6 straight faces, 1 curved face etc. The main focus has been that 2D shapes are pictures (more than just 'flat' shapes) and 3D shapes can be held, thrown, turned around to see the back. We have sang a song - with an American accent (!) and generally smiled a lot through this week.
We have sorted our reading groups and books and been trying to pracise using whisper voices as we will all be reading at the same time. I'll do another blog on the huge importance of reading in Y1. We will prioritise it this year again and it will make all the difference if you can read every night with and to them.
We are doing science today. 'Body parts'. Could be interesting as when I sometimes say "Copy me, put your hands on your head," you'd be surprised how some seem to find it hard to do! We do a morning elbow bump in the line before we come into the classroom (a way of making sure everyone has my attention, says a respectful good morning to me and an opportunity to tell me news) so 'elbow' should be a known body part. I feel a 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' moment coming...
I feel as if I am really getting to know these gorgeous children well now and am looking forward to the coming months with them. I am starting a 'dates' tab on our class page so that you can check when something is coming up and be able to plan for it. Hope this is helpful.
Happy Friday everyone!
Mrs H
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Thursday 7th September
I knew I would love this new class. I expected them to be fun and kind and keen. I did not predict how fab they would be as a collective so soon!
We are spending this week focussing totally on routines, behaviour expectations and feeling comfortable with each other. We have done a lot of playing, some circle times and lots of practising of hands up for silence, lining up, wonderful walking around school/onto the playground etc. This is to allow them to understand how to be safe and ready to learn. They do and they are! So over the next week I will start to introduce our timetable and add learning opportunities such as group work. The immediate priority is to have full phonics sessions and reading practice. These will be the same format as in Reception but with reading Practice they will all be in groups doing a reading job at the same time, so that each child has 3 reads with an adult during the week then we can send that Little Wandle book home for you to enjoy hearing your Remarkable Rabbit read confidently. Let me know if you need any help with the reading at home.
Maths this week has been 2D shapes- have they told you about diamonds rhombus yet? :) We have been singing the 2D shape song so we extend our vocabulary to oval, hexagon, nonagon etc! Here is the link:
It's You Tube so make sure those parental settings are high! Mr Webster brought his guitar in and played the music while we sang. Cool!
Talking of Mr Webster...He is a School Direct teacher in training with Tarporley for the autumn and summer terms. He is going to be an awesome primary school teacher! He will be under the tutelage of Mrs Harrison in school and has some days in college (Chester University) every week. I will get him to write something about himself in next week's blog but in the meantime, he has also had a week of learning my routines, my expectations and feeling comfortable! Let's support him as he starts this wonderful career journey.
Another new face for some of the children was Mr Elton. He is our brilliant PE teacher on Wednesdays. (He is also a friendly face at holiday club.) The Remarkable Rabbits were great at lesson 1 invasion games because they listened and showed respect. The tag game with bibs was particularly fun!
Next week I expect to send home that precious Little Wandle reading book (please don't lose it, we need it for the next group the week after. Let me know if something happens to it so I can send you the link to purchase a replacement.) They will also have a reading for pleasure book that is loosely linked to their reading ability and a library book. Read, read, read! We will also be hoping to start Secret Reader on Fridays 3pm next week so watch this space for details on how to book your slot.
(*Absolutely no David Walliams' picture books please!!! #MrsH'sPetHate)
So let's rock and roll the rest of this wonderful week!
Mrs H


Sunday 3rd September

I can't wait! 2 more sleeps!

We have a gentle start to our new year planned. The focus of day 1 will be establishing new routines (where to put our book bags, water bottles etc, where to line up outside, where to sit on the carpet, where and when to go to the toilet...) and so they all feel comfortable in their new environment. I have planned to do phonics, reading and maths alongside our daily worship, story, register. I will also introduce 'relax kids' which is a 5 minute mindfulness activity where we lie on the carpet and listen to a visualisation; the aim is to develop their imagination and allow them and their body a few moments' stillness. They will get better and better at it by the end of this half-term. This is one of the reasons we will take our shoes off in class - who wants to sit on a carpet that has had muddy/wet shoes all over it? Let's hope you've been practising how to put on and take off those lovely new school shoes! (And a note for non-uniform days: please only send them in with laced shoes if they can tie them themselves!) I hope we will be able to do Ray of the Day on day 1 as well. Ray of the day is someone whose light shone brightly - over and above in some way that day. They get to take home either Boofle or Spencer Bear for one night and then share their news with the class the next day. (Notes for parents about it are in the front page of the bear's book.)

As the week goes on we will embed the day 1 routines and add a little more both academically and behaviourally. How will we demonstrate love, hope, joy and celebration, forgiveness and trust in our school life? What will it look like? We will establish some class rules with the focus on keeping us safe and maximising learning.

We have a lot of learning to do this year! Our topics are interesting and the planning well thought-out. I am really looking forward to engaging your child's interest in all the elements of our busy curriculum. Have a look at our class page over the year to find out what we're doing. Which reminds me... that's the next job on the To Do list!

See you Tuesday!

Mrs H


13th August

I hope you're having a lovely break and getting bored enough to find out wht kind of things you like doing. I am easily keeping my resolution of reading 1 book a week. How many books have you read so far? Miss Jones and I are going to Winsford library this week to collect as many library books as we can carry for our new reading corners. I wonder if you have joined the libary summer reading challenge?

So I am back to work on this new class page and finding out all sorts about rabbits! I am looking forward to finding out all sorts about you in September.

Mrs H

p.s. International Rabbit Day is 23rd September- how should we mark it?? 

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

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