An Aveley Primary Blog

As always, 1S has hit the ground running this term, and have had a very busy few days getting stuck into our learning.

As well as exploring addition and subtraction using some eggs left behind by the Easter bunny (!!) and beginning our new non-fiction focus of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, we have got our hands dirty with a bit of Art..

As Artists this term, we are exploring lines and colour. We began this new topic by turning our classroom into an art gallery. With lots of different pictures by different artists around the room, we were able to choose our favourite, and have some fantastic discussions about how they had used lines and colour.

Having looked at some other people’s art, we have started to think about our own work. The first thing we needed to do was learn about different colours and how they are made.

Did you know that all of the colours around us come from THREE ‘Primary Colours’?!

The primary colours are: RED, BLUE and YELLOW.

We found this very surprising too, but our exploration of secondary colours helped us to understand that by mixing the primary colours we can make all sorts of new ones!

Take a look at us experimenting with primary colours:


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!

As well as exploring the hot environment in Africa in our Literacy and Topic work, this half term 1S has started some Dance!
We have been thinking about how we can use our bodies to represent the different animals that can be found in Africa. From elephants to snakes, rhinos to giraffes, we have had to stretch and scrunch in all sorts of directions to act (and move to the beat!) as these animals.
1S has shown fantastic teamwork skills, working together to create some fantastic African routines. We have had to listen carefully to each other and think about movement and space to show our animals.
Take a look at us in action:

What animals do you think we are?!

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!!

Having sung our way through ‘The Lion King”s ‘The Circle of Life’ in our exploration of African animals, our singing in topic has now taken a much more frosty turn…

Before you ask, our learning hasn’t stopped in favour of sitting back and watching ‘Frozen’ all week (although we have found time for a little sing of everyone’s favourite ‘Let It Go’ of course!)… Instead, voices in 1S could this week be heard singing ‘The North Pole – that’s Arctic… The South Pole – Antarctic…’ If you don’t think that sounds catchy, check out the song we’ve been singing to begin our learning here:

This catchy tune has has helped us to begin our exploration of the cold environment we have turned our attention to (contrasting the hot Kalahari Desert): the North Pole (or Arctic).

So, as the temperature outside rapidly dropped as we welcome Autumn (something we will be thinking about in next half term’s topic), we turned to look at this new environment to help us to answer our learning challenge question.

Here are some of the things we have done as scientists, geographers and artists to explore the North Pole:

  1. Where in the world are cold places are located?

You might remember our brief mention of the EQUATOR (that invisible line around the center of the earth) when looking at hot environments. Well, to start our Polar adventure, we returned to our globe and located the North Pole and Africa in relation to the equator.

In doing so we created our very own globes:



Can you point out the equator, North Pole, and Africa on our work?

This map work helped us to realise that as you move further away from the equator (towards the Poles and away from Africa and the sunny Kalahari) the temperature drops..

2. What are cold colours?

In order to fully emerse ourselves into this new section of our topic work, it was important for us to have a clear picture in our heads of the environment we were learning about. We therefore looked at, and created, our very own Arctic landscapes.

We discovered that an Arcitc scene looks very different from the African Kalahari Desert and has a number of different features that make it unique. Here are a few:

  1. It FLOATS (on the ocean)! – This makes it different from the Antarctic (South Pole) which is on land.
  2. There are large chunks of ice in the sea called ICEBERGS.
  3. The plant life is sparse (there’s not much and its quite twiggy!).

Who would have thought you could have a floating environment!?

Anyway, having created our Arctic scenes, we put on our artist hats and turned to think about colours. As well as looking at the colours we could see, this involved thinking about and discussing what other colours create a cold mood (and make us feel cold when we look at them).

We then used our (fantastic!) collaging skills to create our own ‘COLD COLLAGED ICEBERGS‘. All 31 were fantastic. The collages helped us to create textured icebergs with a range of cold colours which made Miss Stephenson shiver!

Here are a few (but put on your warmest coat before the colours make you feel cold too!): 








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…