New RWI groups, forest school gear reminders, and magnets.

Good evening parents!

I’m sorry I was unable to post a blog last Friday (I was out on a course all day). As penance, here is a Monday blog instead (but it comes with nagging reminders!).

Last week I was able to finish the phonics assessment for all the children which means I now know how far they have progressed in this first term since joining year 1. The progress is really encouraging and all the children should feel proud of what they have achieved and motivated towards achieving even more as we continue the program. The new groups will start tomorrow hopefully (it was unable to start today because of staff absences). Two points that I have noticed that will help your child progress are:

  • In general, the children’s sound knowledge is above average. However, it is important the children practice putting phoneme sounds together to form clusters. For example, ‘b’ and ‘l’ make ‘bl’, or ‘s’, ‘p’, and ‘r’ make ‘spr’. At the moment, some children are recognising the sounds when they are blending, but not blending the sounds close enough together when forming cluster sounds. This is having an effect on their ability to pronounce words correctly. It is important that if a child recognises all the sounds in a word, but is struggling to blend them together, that they continue saying the sounds faster and closer together in order to come closer to find the whole word. They should also begin spotting familiar cluster sounds in words that they can blend together ably.
  • On the other hand, there is a trend amongst even the more able readers to blend multi-syllabic words into one syllable and then miss the pronunciation of longer words. For example, quite a few children found reading the word ‘elbow’ tricky, ‘cactus’ or ‘picnic’. Today, we worked as a class towards recognising syllables in words so as to help us decode them better in our reading and in our spelling. It is worth checking with your child whether they can hear and count out syllables in words.

Can I also remind parents to bring in Forest School gear for their child to keep in school? Please see the previous blog post for information on what you need. I am unable to take the class to Forest School unless every pupil present has the suitable gear. The art topic this term focuses on nature and, after this next term, the Science topic focuses on micro-habitats outside and the animals that live there. These lessons are much more memorable if they take place within the environment being observed or studied. I will be sending home a reminder to those children who still have no gear in school (a big thank you to those who do already!). If you are unable to source Forest School gear please let me know so I can sort something out, this information would of course be confidential.

Today, Year 1 continued their Science focus on materials by looking at magnets and how they work. The class drew magnetic fields in their books and then experimented using the magnets to find which objects in our classroom were magnetic. Afterwards, I showed the class images of magnets being used by different people for different reasons. This prompted a lot of interested discussion on the usefulness of magnets. Can you think of any of the many ways magnets are used at home and by people in their work?

Have a lovely evening and I’m looking forward to a very successful week!


Mr Markham


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