An Aveley Primary Blog

As time has rolled on, and the hands have continued to tick clockwise round our classroom clock (which we can now tell you all about because of our fantastic clock reading skills!), we have begun a new maths topic..

This week, 1S could be heard loudly chanting “2D SHAPES ARE FLAT NOT FAT!” as we began our exploration of 2D shapes.

“Naming 2D shapes? That’s easy!” I can hear you all saying.. But in 1S we are always challenging ourselves to further our learning! This means we haven’t just been naming different shapes but we have also been thinking about their properties

How many sides does the shape have?… Are these sides straight or curved?… Are all of these sides the same length?… How many corners does the shape have?…

We began by sorting some shapes altogether, according to what shape they were and then worked together to record their name and properties.

Take a look:

Counting the sides and corners also gave us some practice on our number ordering, and writing our numbers accurately (making sure they were the right way round!)

Of course, all of our learning is linked, and not only did we need to record our shapes using our number knowledge, but in order to write their names we worked together to segment words and apply our phonics to write these words accurately:

Once we had discussed our shapes together, we went off to our tables to explore our shapes. Look at our fantastic teamwork:


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:

IMG_3836.JPG IMG_3834.JPG IMG_3833.JPG IMG_3835.JPG IMG_3837.JPG IMG_3838.JPG IMG_3839.JPG IMG_3840.JPG IMG_3841.JPG

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)!

Sweets?! It’s not Halloween JUST yet Miss Stephenson! – Yes, but when we’re working hard (and they can help us in our learning) sweets can play an important role in our progress..

1S ended their first half term with the same fabulous enthusiasm that has underpinned all of the learning we have kept you updated on.. While you have accompanied us throughout our literacy and topic learning – all the way from the Kalahari to the North Pole – I’m sure many of you are keen to hear about what we’ve been getting up to in Maths..


Lots of you might be tempted to switch off or stop reading at the mention of the dreaded ‘m’ word.. But stop right there!! Here in 1S we have put any thoughts we used to have about maths (as ‘boring‘ or ‘difficult‘) to the side, and now love looking at numbers!..

Take a look at our ‘maths acrostic‘ (alongside our maths work below) and you’ll soon be persuaded that maths really is marvelous!..

m    MEAN? Sometimes feel like maths can be mean by tricking you with new concepts? Not quite – in 1S we see maths as MAGICAL!

aALONE? Think that maths involves tackling number problems all on your own? not in 1S! In our class we’ve been working ALTOGETHER to develop our number knowledge.

tTESTS? Think maths is full of testing and questions? Wrong again! In 1S we’ve been using our fantastic TEAMWORK to enjoy a range of different TASKS – even involving a bit of acting to help us!

LetterHHARD? Although at times we might think something is hard before we start, we have been using all sorts of pictures, objects, and songs to HELP us to embrace challenges.

s_is_for_snake_poster_460_0SERIOUS? Absolutely not.. Maths is great fun and can even be SILLY.. Even involving fun with SWEETS!!


Now that we’ve shown you what fun we think maths can be I’m sure you’re intrigued to see what we’ve been doing to have such fun with maths this week…

Well, having spent some time getting used to addition, we turned our attention to SUBTRACTION.

This began with us acting, singing and drawing speckled frogs jumping off a log.

We used the speckled frog song to begin our work on subtraction. As we sang this, we took frogs (or compare animals) from a line of 5 (their log) which we shared with our talk partners and made them ‘jump’ into class pond in the middle of our maths circle.

Confused? Take a look at us in action:

“5 little speckled frogs,

Sat on a great big log,

Eating the most delicious bugs (yum yum!)”

Here are the class frogs, about to lose 1. They are next to our ‘class pond’ into which every pair has put their first frog, while singing:

“1 jumped into the pool,

Where it was nice and cool,

Then there were 4 specked frogs”

And so we continued..


…Until we had no (0) frogs left!

This helped us to understand what happens when you subtract (or take away) ONE.

Take a look at the number sentences we wrote to record our activity:




Once we understood the concept of subtracting 1, we moved away from our speckled frogs and on to… jelly beans!!!

We told you maths was fun!

Here is how we used jelly beans to help us create (and work out the answers to) subtraction number sentences:

  • First we wrote the number sentence (e.g. 5 – 2 = )
  • Then we read our number sentence out loud (being careful to interpret the different symbols correctly!)
  • Then we counted out the number of jelly beans the number sentence told us to start with (the first number) and circled these once we had carefully laid them out.
  • After that we ate the number of jelly beans the number sentence told us to take away. Once we had subtracted these (yum yum!), we crossed out the circles that were left behind.

  • Finally, we counted how many were left and wrote this number (our answer) on the other side of the equals sign.

Once we had done this we could read aloud our complete number sentence, and (after a few questions from Miss Stephenson about our calculations!) we ate up the remaining jelly beans. 🙂

Take a look at us doing this sweet subtraction:



I bet you never thought maths could be SUCH fun?!

Have a go at creating your own subtraction number sentences as you tuck in to you Halloween sweeties next weekend! 

How many will you start with? 

How many are you going to eat (take away) at a time?

How many does that leave you with?

In order to continue our exploration of the Arctic, we had to answer the question:

What animals live in the North Pole?

With our meerkat friends safely housed in the hot area of our book corner, a cold front suddenly (and rather unexpectedly!) swept in, creating a contrasting cold area. This came to house some more visiting animals who are adapted to a much colder, Arctic, environment than Sunny and his friends.

Lucky 1S!

Peter the Polar Bear (who has been showing us around his Arctic home, guiding our exploration of this new landscape) had come with some of his friends… MORE VISITORS!!

In order to start thinking abut what animals live in the North Pole, we went over to welcome the visitors, and discover what animals had come over with Peter..  


What a collection of animals! Can you name any of them before we introduce you?

Now that you’ve had a go at naming the animals, we’ll tell you who our visitors are:

  • Peter, the Polar Bear
  • Paddy and Penny the Penguins
  • Freddie the Arctic Fox
  • Sammy the Seal

While these were the only Arctic animals who made it all the way to join us in 1S, that was not the limit of our learning about Arcitc animals! We have also learnt about:

  • Holly the Hare
  • Pip the Puffin
  • Ollie the Snowy Owl
  • Sheila the Shark

Wow! Peter has a lot of different animal friends living with him in the Arctic!

We looked at lots of pictures of these animals, which helped us to spot some of their ADAPTATIONS that help keep them warm (so they don’t have to wear woolly hats and gloves like we do in the cold!). These range from their thick white fur and small ears (which we realised most of them have), to Sammy the Seal’s thick layer of fat.

Our learning about these animals didn’t stop there!! We then turned to look at different CATEGORIES that we can put animals into.

The first of these was determining whether they are:

  1. MAMMAL,
  2. FISH, or
  3. BIRD

Take a look at some of our Arctic animal posters, which will show you which categories some of the animals go into:

Not only did we categorise them in this way, but we also looked at DIET! Did you know you can categorise animals by what they eat?! These categories are:

  1. CARNIVORE (animals that only eat meat)
  2. HERBIVORE (animals that only eat plants)
  3. OMNIVORE (animals that eat meat AND plants)

As well as categorising Arctic AND African animals according to what they eat, we had some fun with VENN DIAGRAMS (maths in topic!).

Although we know that humans (like 1S) are technically OMNIVORES (because we can eat both meat and vegetables), we thought about what we like to eat. We then sorted ourselves into omnivores, carnivores and herbivores..

venn diagram

Using our Venn Diagram to help you, have a go at sorting yourself with your friends!:

  • Do you like chicken nuggets and burgers (but not fruit and vegetables)? – You are a CARNIVORE!
  • Do you prefer fruit and vegetables? – You are a HERBIVORE!
  • Do you like burgers AND the salad filling? – You are an OMNIVORE!

Wow what a crazy Arctic adventure!

Taking a step back, we realised that, not only did we have a contrast of hot and cold environments on our topic display wall, but the two contrasting worlds had collided in our book corner!

This led us to think about some of the differences between the two environments..

A shock message from Miss Stephenson led us to think about this in even more detail, taking us right back to our original learning challenge question.

Miss Stephenson overheard Sunny (the meerkat) and his friends suggesting they moved to Peter’s home in the Arctic when they leave 1S, instead of heading back to the Kalahari.


We used what we know about the two environments to make posters to persuade them that a visit to the North Pole would not be a good idea!!


You’ll be glad to hear that we now know enough about the sunny Kalahari Desert and the frosty North Pole, that we were able to give many great reasons why MEERKATS CANNOT LIVE IN THE NORTH POLE!

Not only are Sunny and his friends now happy to head home to Africa, but we have managed to answer our learning challenge question (‘Why Can’t Meerkats Live in the North Pole?’)!

Well done, 1S – What an achievement!!

We are all familiar with ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ – the fabulous body-parts song that gets us moving! So how on earth could this be related to our maths learning, I hear you say?! Read on, and we’ll tell you about how we’ve used one of our favourite songs to help us with our mental maths!..

At the moment, in 1S, we are looking at counting, number and place value. This means not only refreshing our counting skills of counting in 1s, but we are also working on counting in 2s (without whispering the odd numbers in between!).

To help us to do this, we thought about parts of our body that we have 2 of, such as hands, eyes and ears. How many different parts of your body can you think of that you have two in (that come in pairs)?

Having discussed this, we counted them – adding them together 2 at a time. Sound confusing? Take a look:

  • We started with our eyes – That’s 2 body parts.

  • Then we added our ears – adding 2 more makes 4 body parts.

  • Then came our shoulders – 6 body parts.

  • Adding 2 knees got us to 8.

  • And finally, we added our 2 feet: 10 body parts!

Now we can count in 2s!

Take a look at our working wall, which explains and helps us to remember what we are doing when we count in 2s using our body:


As well as working hard on our mental maths, we’ve been exploring maths through a variety of activities, including numicon, number sentence bingo, unifix and peg boards.

Here’s a taster of some of our work:


What a busy week of maths – who would have thought we’d be singing in maths and our bodies could be so helpful!?