Friday, 31 March 2017

Phonics Screening Check

I made a marvelous letter for you all, explaining everything you need to know about the phonics screening. But when it came to handing them out on the very last day, I did not :(

So here is the letter:

Dear Parents,
I’m sure you have lots of questions regarding the upcoming phonics screening. Here is some information on What is a screening check?, How do you do it? and Why are you testing my little child?

What is the Phonics Screening check?
It is a statutory reading check all year 1 children take during a week in June. It is to assess if children have made the age related expectation for decoding by the end of the year.
How is the check administered?
The check is completed 1:1 with Miss Carr, the English Co-ordinator. It usually takes 5-10 minutes for the child to complete. However, there is no time limit so they can take as long as they need. We have worked a lot on activities such as this in the classroom, the only difference is that the teacher will be unable to give the child any help.
What does the check consist of?
The check contains 40 words - 20 real and 20 pseudo (nonsense/alien) words. The words are presented in a booklet with 4 large words on each page. The words gradually get more
difficult, starting with words such as ’it’ and ’vap’ to longer words with more complex sounds in such as the a_e sound in ‘same’ and ’glame’.

Why use pseudo words?
The ultimate aim of teaching phonics is to give children the skill of decoding sounds in a word for spelling and reading rather than just automatic recognition of the words. Even as an adult I use this skill to decode unfamiliar words. This skill allows children to read more difficult texts and expand their vocabulary. Using pseudo words in the test is a real indicator that your child has this skill of decoding unfamiliar words and is not just reading from memory

What happens if a child does not meet the expected standard?
If a child does not meet the expected standard then extra support will be given to them for their phonics and they will complete the check again in year 2.

How can I help my child?
· The most important thing you can do is read with your child. Listen to them reading and read to them. If they can hear how you pronounce unfamiliar words it will expand their vocabulary.
· When you listen to your child read, allow them the time to decode unfamiliar words by themselves, before stepping in to help them. If you find your child is struggling, you can help by pointing out the sounds (not the letters). Such as the word ‘keep’ would be ‘k-ee-p’ and ‘light’ would be ‘l-igh-t’.
· When you listen to your child read pick out a word from the book and ask them to say which graphemes (letters) are making a certain phoneme (sound). For example the ’ee’ sound in ‘reaching’ is represented by the letters ‘ea’.
· If you have the internet there are many free phonics games your child can play.
· Keep reading activities short. Better to read little and often than a lot and infrequently.
· Stop before your child becomes bored and restless.

Tips on pronouncing sounds:
When you were in school, you may have been taught that ‘c’ says ‘cuh’ and ‘t’ says ‘tuh’.
However when sounding out in phonics, it is important to keep the sounds short (without the ‘uh’ on the end). It is easier to do if you whisper the sounds.
It is important because if we voice the ‘u’h, it makes sounding out more difficult.
For example the word ‘fluff’ is ‘f-l-u-ff’ but if we add the ‘uh’ on the end of each sound it would be ‘fuh-luh-uh-fuh’, or ‘fuhluhfuh’, now that’s a non-sense word!

I’ve included a little sheet of the type of words they could come across in the phonics check, to have a look at over the Easter holidays. This doesn’t need to be handed back into me, it’s for you to keep. I will also add some extra resources on the blog for you to have a try of.

Hope your Easter is lovely and we will see you in April.
Miss Morris and Mrs Baker

Also I've chucked a bunch of files I had on my hard drive into a folder in dropbox if you wanted to do anything extra.

Here are some fun phonics games that we use in class

(Most of the children know the login off by heart as I make sure to say it out loud as I type it in, hoping they will remember it - if not, ask around, I can't publish it online)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Spring summary

Finally our fact files are complete and they are AMAZING. If only all topics could bring about this much enthusiasm for writing. Hopefully this has shown some members of the class they do have a capacity for writing.


I used their fact files for our BIG YEAR ONE DISPLAY in the hall. The class promised me that if they were allowed to use the fancy pens, even though we don't have a pen licenses (Thanks Theo),  that they would produce work so neat and beautiful, I'd have to display which year group wrote it. We included diagram and illustrations from your fact files too. 

The Qr codes you see dotted about on the display are links to children reading out some of their work.

1 - SO

2 - FB
3 - IL
4 - ER
5 - EA

Easter egg hunt

Mrs Baker spoilt us yesterday, or should I say Mrs 'Easter Bunny' Baker.
The children had to find little bits of straws, scattered about the playground and Year One garden. Each piece of plastic was transferable for a treat once we arrived back at the classroom. The straws were colour coded; pink for a mini egg, orange for an Easter sticker, yellow for a bag of Haribo and green for a lolly. But the straw colour that everyone really wanted was a blue straw, as that could be swapped for a real Easter egg.

 So we gathered at the centre of the playground.

 And then they were off!!!


 1st blue straw found


 Blue straw number 2 found. 1 left to go.

 The last blue straw was found.

The three lucky winners. 


Today we went on a bit of an orienteering adventure. Using a map of the playground we found questions about the 7 continents.


As a wind down for the Easter holidays, Year One took to a spot of weaving. Once we grasped the concept of over, under, over, under, over, under it was easy peasy. 


Music this half term has been a bit spotty. With not having Ms. Kelly around, Miss Morris has had to come up with some inventive lessons. A part of the year 1 curriculum is to appreciate music that is recorded or played live. We did this by watching lots of videos of creative artist.

We watched: 

  • Walk off the Earth, who create music using a variety of instruments that are out of the norm. This inspired the children to form their own bands and to play the pencil pots to songs they sang in the playground.
  • Reeps One, a talented beat boxer who can make the most marvellous sounds with his mouth. The children used their phonics sounds to make up their own beat boxing songs.
  • Pentatonix, an accapella group, they take current songs and put their own spin on them. The only instrument they use is their voice. We tried joining in with some of the instrumental parts of their group whilst others sang the lyrics they knew.


Year One, you've done it again. Mrs Baker and I have been blown away by the effort put into the projects this term. Most impressive is the use of vocabulary in the projects, we sure know a thing or two about materials and their properties.

A comic strip of the Three Little Pigs

An alternative material Three Little Pigs

A materials matching game

and an investigation into tensile strength

The Three Little Pigs if they made a house out of chocolate instead story

An investigation into absorption rates of different thickness of paper.

The Three Little Pigs Threaten to eat the Big Bad Wolf

The most impossible materials game

A robot named Jack

The whole class agreeing with the results of on experiment on magnetism
Houses need to be dry, warm and strong. 

Which material coat will be the best to keep you dry on a rainy day during a fire drill?

Year One Garden
Sandridge School were treated to a bit of a make over. The beds in the year one garden have been tended to and some beautiful bedding plants added. We send our thanks to Zoe and Lucy, everyone at Bunnings and the helpers who spent time over their weekend working to give Year One a beautiful garden again.
Since then Mr and Mrs Boxer have planted some potatoes with the 'help' of Year One. Which was so successful they have agreed to run a gardening club starting after the Easter holidays. 

Summer & Lacey(24.02.17)
Zac & Ella (10.03.17)
Scarlet M & Phoenix (17.03.17)
Sophie & Edward (24.03.17)
Erin & Small One (31.03.17)

Neat Presentation
Elizabeth (24.02.17)
Scarlet M (03.03.17)
Elizabeth (10.03.17)
Toby (17.03.17)
Olivia (24.03.17)
Phoenix (31.03.17)

Star Writer
Theo (24.02.17)

Scarlet O (03.03.17)


Kenny (17.03.17)

Ethan (24.03.17)

Elizabeth (31.03.17)

Certificate of Excellence
Chloe and Ethan (30.03.17)