An Aveley Primary Blog

Turning away from Sunny the meerkat’s adventures in the Kalahari, our non-fiction focus this half term has stuck with the African theme. Turning to explore ‘Lila and the Secret of Rain’ we have been transported to a small Kenyan village, where we have followed the story of a young girl called Lila.

As well as exploring the many different types of weather that Lila experiences in the story (linking to our Topic work), we have been working hard on our story writing skills.
We have found out that stories are written in a special way – they follow a structure. As we read a story, we go on a ‘journey’. This doesn’t mean we actually get up and leave the classroom (!) or climb a mountain like Lila does in our story, but, as we read, we move through different sections of the story (from the introduction to the middle etc.) which we can map out as we climb a ‘story mountain’.
We recalled the story to create a class story mountain – take a look:

Can you use this to name the different sections of a story structure?

As well as recalling the story, learning about key features of the structure, we have explored the 5Ws of story writing (you can’t tell a story without 5Ws!) and how we can effectively write about these when we create our own ‘Lila and the Secret of Rain’ story maps.

Take a look at this great song that has reminded us of these:

Here are some of the ways we have developed our writing skills around these:
1. WHEN: Time connectives and story openings
Every part of a story starts with a time word. In the introduction this is of course the all important opening: ‘Once upon a time’ and the sections which follow use time connectives (then, next, after that, finally..)
We have used time connectives to move on to each different section of the story:

2.WHO: Character Descriptions
We have spent lots of time working on character descriptions.

We used Beauty and the Beast to remind us how to use nouns and adjectives (and create adjectival strings!) to help us to make our descriptions really clear.

Having described these characters we used what we learnt about descriptive writing to describe the main character of our story: Lila.


Character Feelings
As well as describing how she looked, we have thought about how Lila feels at different points in the story (she goes through a roller coaster of emotions!).
As we recalled the story, we acted out the different feelings:


Wow! What a lot of literacy.

We have now created some fantastic story maps of the story using ALL of these different features of story writing!

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!

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!?