Friday, 28 April 2017

Our first full week back (and now we have another short one coming up--not that I'm complaining) and we've had our first try at the new homework scheme. As a recap of last week, there will now be a maths and English activity in the homework every Monday along with the weekly spelling words. The children will have three nights to work on those activities. I will also give them time during the average day to practise their spellings. On Thursday morning, first thing, I will collect all homework books and if someone does not have one or has not completed everything, I will record that data and they will attend the "Homework Club" in Year 3 with the head teacher during lunch. Please understand that a large aspect of the point of homework is to get the children used to hard deadlines and being responsible for their work, so if they have done the work at home but forgotten to bring it in, we will still have them attend Homework Club. Hopefully it will get them to start remembering their work. We are just over two years away from Secondary School, after all.

I have also learned a bit from the first go at homework and will try to make sure that the instructions for each part of it are clear in terms of expectations and accurate. One of the maths activities turned out to have a mistake in it that I didn't notice until I made up the answer sheets. So if I can have the answer sheets made up before I hand out the homework, I can clarify/correct any misconceptions early. At least, that's the theory. We'll see what happens in practise.

As next week is short, homework will go out on Tuesday and we'll have it due on Friday, so Homework Club will be Friday lunchtime. That way there will still be the same three nights to work on everything.

Since we're on the subject, here are next week's spelling words, still from the list of top misspelled words:










I think that's about it for major news. I laid out the structure of the half-term last week, so please see that if there are any questions. Also please remember to have PE kits and swimsuits on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Several children have been forgetting them quite regularly and this is not acceptable. They are missing out on an important aspect of their education, and potentially getting their uniforms soiled.
Thank you for your understanding through the first week of the homework. Hopefully we have most of the kinks ironed out now, but there's always something new to gum up the works, isn't there?
Have a happy and healthy holiday weekend!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Welcome back, everyone, from what I hope was a fun and relaxing break. We're pushing through to the end, which is only 13 weeks away now!

We are starting a new English topic around traditional tales and mythology, which will tie nicely into the geography topic of Spring term, which was India, as well as our history topic this term, which will be the Roman Invasion of Britain. Along the way we will hear traditional stories from Africa, North America, and Asia, and study some important myths along the way.

After that we'll read and write some reports, which will match up partially with our science topic of Animal Habitats and Food Chains in the second half of the term. We will be writing up a report on an animal in its native habitat at the end of the unit.

In science we will be studying electricity and circuits. We will spend the entire first half term on this topic, which will tie in with magnetism, electrical power production and culminate in constructing complex circuits with switches.

Our topic in History, as mentioned above, in the Romans, and for that I have already booked our Summer field trip. We will be spending the day at Verulam Park. In the morning we will have a self-guided tour of the Verulamium Museum and then an artefact-handling lesson, followed by lunch. In the afternoon we will be taking tours of the Roman city, theatre and hypocaust in around the park. The trip should take all day and I will need some parent volunteers. The day will be Wednesday 7th of June, which is some way off so there is no urgency to my request. But if you could have a look at your diary and see if you might be free to help manage a small group of 6 or 7 children during the day, I would appreciate it.

Our art and design technology will have Indian and Roman themes, for the most part, and will be scattered amongst the other topics. We will be making some art reminiscent of traditional Indian designs as well as making Roman mosaics and possibly some sculpture.

As you already know, our PE time will be taken up with swimming every Tuesday afternoon and Invasion Games with Mr Clarke on Thursdays. Please remember to have swimsuits, towels and caps for anyone with long hair for Tuesday, and the normal PE kit every Thursday. Several children have been forgetting their kits habitually, which means they miss out on PE or end up running around in their uniforms, which is not good either way.

As was discussed in the weekly newsletter, there have been changes to the homework policy, so there will be no large project due this term. Instead, the children will receive a maths task and an English task each week, which will tie into the week's work in some way. These will be given out each Monday along with the Spellings and will be due in on that Thursday. To help streamline this process and keep parents informed, all tests will be taken in the Homework books from now on (the orange book). Obviously, if children forget to bring their Homework books in, they will have to do the test in a different book and parents might not see the results. Please try to help your child remember to bring the Homework book in every morning just as we work to make sure the books go home every night.

As we are just starting this, we may have kinks to work out and may change things around. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email or call the office, or catch me after school.

As this will be week one of the new homework policy, we'll start with the coming week's words. We start up where we left off last term, working on the 200 most frequently used words. Here's this week's selection:


Have a good weekend.