An Aveley Primary Blog

When asked by Miss Stephenson: “What’s the time 1S?” many of you might expect the cry of “Dinner time!!” in response.

However, although we have been asking each other about the time a lot recently, we haven’t simply spent our learning time playing our own version of ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’.. Well… not exactly…

We have been learning all about different units of time, from the largest (years) right down to the specific units that we split a day into.

1. Using a Calendar: What day are we on?

We started by thinking about calendars, and how a year is broken down into months:

How many months are there in a year?


Then we looked more closely at months, and how they are broken down into weeks and the weeks into days.

Do you know how many days there are in a week?

We have been using our class calendar every day. As well as using our weather symbols that we made last term to tkeep track of the changing weather, this helps us to keep track of what day of the week we are on (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc.) and what number day this is (1st, 2nd, 3rd..) in which month (January, February, March etc.).

Take a look:


2. Using a Clock to be more Clear

Although we have got very good at using time language (such as first, next and then) to order events and naming different parts of the day using morning, afternoon and evening, we decided that we needed to be more precise when telling people when we do things.

After all, if we say we have break ‘in the morning’ surely that could mean as soon as we wake up?! That could be very confusing!

This has led us to investigate time further, discovering that time is broken down into special units: hours – minutes – seconds.

Do you know which is the smallest unit of time?

Do you know how many minutes there are in an hour?… Or seconds in a minute?
We do!

In order to get ourselves used to telling the time, we have made our own analogue clock faces:

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We have used our clocks in ‘What’s the time?’ games, challenging our partners with times we make by turning our ‘hands’ clockwise to point them at different numbers.

This has helped us to get very good at telling the time – we can even read and write “half past” times – and if you don’t believe us, just try testing us!

Oh no.. look at the time 1S! We’ve spent too much time talking about time! Better be off – catch you later (at another time)!

Another day, another date:

1st December
But this isn’t just any date!!

Following our Topic work on the months and seasons we know what this date means… all of the leaves have fallen off the trees because… It’s now WINTER! Time to pick up those gloves, scarves and bobble hats. We need to wrap up as it’s getting really cold now!

But that’s not all… What did you do on the 1st December?
Well 1S came in to their classroom to find things had changed..

A bit of red.. some green.. a new tree.. and a lot of sparkles…

What do you think had happened?!

That’s right, lots of you will have started opening your Advent calendars in the great Christmas countdown.. And in 1S, we’ve started getting festive by turning our classroom into a bit of a grotto!

Not only has Christmas begun in 1S, but the whole of Aveley Primary has started getting festive..

We can’t believe our luck in 1S. It feels like yesterday that we went on our first school trip to the theatre. The fun just doesn’t stop for us!

Today’s trip was a bit different and wasn’t quite as far – in fact we stayed in Aveley, and headed off up the High Street to the Church for a special Christingle service.
Having spent some time making our special Christingle oranges and practising our songs, we were all set and lined up beautifully, paired with some Year 5s from 5S!

And off we went..

Once we were all settled in the Church we sang some lovely songs, listened to a great talk about Christingles and Christmas (thank you Reverend Tara, and Miss Shadbolt who was being really funny!), and finally lit our candles!

After a lovely service, and yet more compliments about our fabulous, super sensible behaviour (FANTASTIC 1S!), we headed back to school, munching on our Christingle sweets as we went… Yum!
What a great way to get Christmas started!

1S got an unexpected surprise in their literacy lesson today..

All the way from the sunny Kalahari, we discovered a MEERKAT (or three!) cheekily nestling in our book corner!

Following our hard work in both literacy and topic, looking at Sunny’s world:


Here’s Bailey investigating:


We have read a whole range of different postcards that Sunny sent back home from the places he visited in ‘Meerkat Mail’ – telling his family all about his adventures.

Having looked at these in some detail, we decided that Sunny would probably need to write his family a postcard from Aveley (which we’re going to help him out with!).

But first, we thought it would be a good idea to give him a tour of our world..

This meant that (with our help, using adjectives and full sentences to describe the places we showed him) he could take a proper look at our school and see the different areas where we learn (and play!) to write home about..

First, we lined up (smart as soldiers, silent as mice!) ready to venture out into the school to show Sunny and his friends our world:


Then, we showed him the BIG, YELLOW bin:


After that, we showed them the HARD, WOODEN table:



Then, we let the meerkats jump along the trim trail (what fun!):


Next, we headed off towards KS2, to show our meerkat friends the LONG, GREEN grass in the field:


Of course no tour of Aveley would be complete without a trip to the BIG (SMELLY!) dinner hall!:

Finally, we headed back to the classroom, to have a proper look around, and show Sunny our coat pegs and learning walls:





Wow – what an adventure! Lucky meerkats (and 1S of course: for their visit and to have such a great school to be able to show them)!
Did you spot the TIME CONNECTIVES creating this RECOUNT of Sunny’s tour?

How many ADJECTIVAL STRINGS did you spot?

Now that we’ve showed Sunny our learning world, we’re going to help him with some writing!

Don’t you worry, we will keep you updated!

I’m sure you’re all excited to hear about the learning underpinning our interesting display table involving a globe alongside some colourful calendars of Africa… Don’t worry, we won’t make you wait any longer! Here is an insight into our learning challenge that has been driving our topic work…

Our learning challenge question is: ‘Why Can’t Meerkats Live in the North Pole?’

This might seem a rather odd – maybe even slightly random – thing for us to be asking, here at Aveley (where we don’t have any meerkats around us and are based many many miles away from the North Pole!!).

But don’t you worry, despite what it might initially seem, this question is extremely relevant to our learning!

This is because, our new fiction focus is Emily Gravett’s ‘Meerkat Mail’. This gripping story follows the journey of ‘Sunny’ the meerkat, who leaves his home in the Kalahari Desert to discover whether the grass is greener on the other side, by packing his suitcase and exploring a number of other places.

But (spoiler alert!) Sunny realises that there’s no place like home: His home in the Kalahari Desert is the place that suits him best..

This challenge question was therefore something that we are all extremely curious to explore, so that we can discover more about the hot environment that Sunny comes from – and why it is “perfect” for him – but also the contrasting environment of the North Pole and why Sunny might not be able to live there..

In our literacy work, as well as producing some fantastic writing based on the story (which we will share with you later!), we used actions to create a whole-class recall of the story (we didn’t have to look at the book to remind us what happens once!).. While Joanne made a very confident, adventurous Sunny, we all narrated the story together and took turns being different characters that Sunny comes across.

Here we are recalling the story:


We also did some hot-seating to help us explore character thoughts and feelings.. Here are some of us being Sunny:

 While our literacy has been closely following this fictional story, out topic has enabled us to explore some of the FACTS.

We know that Sunny lives in the “Kalahari Desert”, so we began by finding out where this is. Have a guess – where do you think the Kalahari Desert is located? Do you think it is a hot or cold environment?

We discovered that the Kalahari is in South Africa. We even now know that this is a CONTINENT (land which is made up of many different COUNTRIES).

Discovering that this is a HOT environment (even hotter than our summer holidays here!), we have explored this climate as geographers, scientists and artists, by looking at:

1. What clothes we wear in hot environments.


2. What animals can be found in hot environments (helped by several sing-alongs to “The Lion King”‘s ‘Circle of Life’!)

3. What colours create a “hot mood”.

We thought about textures and shapes while we made our own ‘hot Africas’ by colouring, painting and collaging:



4. The difference between an African hut and our own homes in England.

5. Where in the world hot places are located.
This has led us to think about what happens as we move away from the EQUATOR and the temperature starts to drop..

Now we know lots about where meerkats do live.. Time to start exploring the North Pole and why they can’t live there…

1S has hit the ground running and our first week in Year 1 has flown by! Before we get started updating you on what we’ve got up to so far, take a look at our new classroom where we’ve been getting stuck into our learning: the calm after the storm!


Firstly we must introduce you to our furry friend – Mr Monkey.


Mr Monkey is our class mascot, who is here to watch our learning (and sometimes even help us out!). He is particularly impressed by, and enjoys spending time with, children who are embracing challenges and putting effort into their learning. Although he lives in our classroom in the week, Mr Monkey needs a friend to go home with every weekend (he doesn’t want to be left alone in the classroom or get stuck with Miss Stephenson).. However, Mr Monkey’s weekends are precious. This means that through the week he will keep an eye out for children showing a green learning attitude, listening and embracing the spectrum of learning opportunities that they are presented with, and as a result make steps of progress to achieve. On a Friday someone who has stood out that week, will then get to take him home (along with his diary to keep the rest of the class informed of his adventures!) to explore what we get up to on the weekends!

I’m sure lots of you have been wondering what Mr Monkey’s sitting on?! We’ll save the basket for a later date, but look closely again and you’ll see he’s sitting rather carefully on a tall transparent pot. This isn’t just any pot, and, as well as acting as a rather comfortable seat for Mr Monkey, he is actually protecting something very important to us here in 1S!…

Coming into Year 1 has meant getting used to lots of new routines and expectations. While this could have seemed a little scary at the beginning of the week, we’re now enjoying these changes and understanding how these are going to help us with our learning.

One of the reasons for this is because we worked together to create a ‘class contract’ or agreement on how we do things in 1S. This is a set of things that we do in 1S to help remind us how keep it a happy, safe, and most importantly fun learning environment! These include things like ‘we tuck our chairs in’, ‘we listen to others’ and…


How on earth does this relate to Mr Monkey’s tall transparent pot he is protecting so carefully? Well, each time we work together and, as Team 1S, stick to our contract, we get a sweet in the pot. When the pot is full of sweets, our hard work will mean we have earnt ourselves ‘sweet party’! This doesn’t mean that we sit and eat lots and lots of sweets, but filling the pot means that we will have an extra special ‘golden time’, in which a special reward will be voted on by the class.

Guess what?! We’ve already got 5 sweets!!

Now, that you’ve seen our classroom, met our mascot, and heard about our new routines, I bet you’re excited to meet us! Well here we are (sort 0f):

We created named self portraits holding hearts in which we drew the things we love (our family, favourite subject and hobbies).

I think that’s plenty for you to digest right now, but don’t worry, we will update you very shortly on some of the maths and literacy we have got stuck into.. There’s lots of it and it’s too good to miss!