Acorn Class

Welcome to Acorn Class
Reception & Year 1

Teacher Rachel Saunders
Teaching Assistant Bridget Dennett

Parent-workshop-Powerpoint-Autumn 2020

Autumn Term

Week Beginning 14.9.20

We had an excellent second week in Acorn.

In maths, the Reception children have been working more on their numeral recognition and touch counting. Year one children have been reading and writing numbers to 10, ordering numbers and working on their fluency skills.

In phonics the Reception children have been working extremely hard on our new sounds, ‘s’, ‘i’, ‘p’. The year one children have been revising their digraphs, trigraphs and tricky words.

We also have been very busy in PSHE and Science, looking at how we change from babies to adults and sorting various baby toys, clothes and items. At the end of the week we finished with our much anticipated Teddy Bears picnic. It was a lovely afternoon and the children had a lovely time! Please see our Tapestry page for the photos.

As of next week, I am leaving the children in the (very) capable hands of Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Pink. I hope the children have enjoyed their first two weeks as much as I have! I am looking forward to returning back to the classroom soon.

Mrs. Saunders



We have had a busy first week in Acorn. The children have been settling in and getting to know each other with some circle time activities and working on our hand washing!

We have been learning and revising ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’ in phonics and we enjoyed a ‘sound walk’ around the school grounds. We listened to ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and then the children enjoyed our sticky investigation with oats and came up with some fantastic describing words!

In maths, the Reception children have been identifying numbers 1-5 and 1-10. We have also been working on touch counting, including some fun activities on our interactive whiteboard. Year One  children have been revising numbers 1-20, ordering numbers 1-20 and adding numbers up to 20.

Have a lovely weekend.

The Acorn Team

Termly booklet Acorn Autumn 2020

Summer Term


Dear Acorn Class,

I hope this message finds you safe and well.

I will keep this brief as I have written a proper introduction and some ideas for activities on Tapestry under ‘Memos’ which should be available for you to view from Monday morning. You should all receive an email notification to access Tapestry by the end of Monday if you are not on here already. I know that some of the Year 1’s have already activated their account. 

Please let me know how you get on or if you experience any problems.

Kind regards,

Fiona Payne


Acorn Termly Booklet – Spring 2020


Easter Activities

I hope you’ve all enjoyed doing the bits and bobs we sent home and are loving the sunny weather! Above is a link to a few pages of suggested Easter activities to keep your little ones busy, if you fancy them. 

Mrs Payne will be updating this webpage as from Monday 20th April with activities for as long as the school is closed in the summer term – please check this page regularly.

Thank you to all of you who have made my year so fun! Have a super Easter break and take care of each other.

Mrs Cheyne x

News from week beginning 16th March

Water tray exploring!

Story Time with Miss Gibbs

Being around children in this surreal and unknown situation really is the best! The little Acorns have been their usual chirpy, funny and inquisitive selves the whole week – cracking on with important things like helping each other with zips, sharing out the snack-time fruit and deciding which part of the zoo they made from bricks is going to be the church!

This week they loved talking and writing about their mummies. The YR children learned about capacity and volume and the Y1 children practiced counting to 100 and back, writing numerals and number words and they revised tens and ones. The children loved creating their own map of a play-park and had a super time using the Chromebooks on the art software, Paintz.

Have a safe and fun time at home with your children and we look forward to welcoming you back once things are back to normal.

Take care.

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 9th March

Sports Relief Day!

It was so lovely to see the children dressed up as sports people – they took their roles very seriously and spent most of break time getting fit by jogging around and around the grass amphitheatre!

In phonics the Reception children learned the last tricky word ‘out’ and continued to practise spelling words by letter names rather than letter sounds. They did some super writing about what they had learned from our visitors (more on that in a second!) and what they might find out in their gardens. Thank you to those parents who were able to attend the parents phonics session – the children and we always love having you in to share our day! The Year One children explored the various ‘igh’ sound spellings, as in ‘fried’, ‘sky’, ‘drive’ and ‘find’ and the various ‘f’ sound spellings as in ‘cliff’, ‘telephone’ and ‘rough’. They also discussed what the prefix ‘un’ does to the meaning of a word.

In maths, the Reception children explored halving shapes and quantities, firstly by using objects then by using their fingers then by imagining the quantities in their heads! The Year One children focussed on counting in twos, tens and fives and looking at patterns on 100 squares then they thought of their own strategies to calculate the numbers in missing number equations (4+?=9) – they used multilink cubes, fingers, number lines and calculated them in their heads. They then linked these equations to part-part-whole diagrams and number fact families (4+5=9, 5+4=9, 9-4=5, 9-5=4).

We found out so much about this term’s author study, Roger Hargreaves. Please ask them for the six facts we found out, including a very special one about his son…The children loved hearing some Mr Men and Little Miss stories with each book’s amazing vocabulary and different way of telling a story (asking the reader questions etc).

The highlight of the week was when the fire fighters came to school! The Acorns had a talk from them in the new hall, which included Flames the Dragon and some dance actions, then they visited the fire engine on the front playground! They got to use the hose, pull up and push down the temporary caution cones and heard all about the different parts of the fire engine. What a fabulous session it was, thank you Sherborne Fire Station staff!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Acorn Team


News from week beginning 2nd March

World Book Day!

We have had a bumper week this week – from learning about Fair-trade to recognising that every family is different but wonderful to dressing up for World Book Day to thinking about how we would celebrate if Jesus rode a donkey through OUR village.

In Phonics the Reception children learned the tricky words ‘what’ and ‘when’ and practised spelling their first names using letter names. The Year One children looked at the two different ways of saying the digraph ‘ew’ (‘oo’ as in ‘threw’ and ‘you’ sound as in ‘new’), the alternative spellings of the ‘ai’ sound (ate, eight, say, lady, prey), the alternative spellings of the ‘c’ sound (school, lick, kit, box, queen) and the plural suffix ‘es’ (e.g. in churches and foxes).

In maths the Reception children learned about time and the Year One children consolidated number bonds to 10, perfected their number formation and improved the accuracy of spelling number words (e.g. two, nine).

We hope you liked seeing the children’s Jackson Pollock-inspired art in the Parents’ Assembly. They looked very Pollock-like crouching over the paper on the floor outside, whilst dribbling, dripping and splatting the paint!

Have a brilliant weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 24th February

Science experiment using pipettes!

What a great week!

In phonics the Reception children practised speed-reading High Frequency Words and beat their time again! They learned the tricky words ‘were’, ‘there’, ‘one’ and ‘little’. The Year One children explored the sound the ‘a’ makes in ‘splash’, ‘bacon’, ‘fast’ and ‘want’, the ‘y’ sound in ‘yes’, ‘by’, ‘pyramid’ and ‘happy’, the ‘ch’ sound in ‘pinch’, ‘school’ and ‘machine’ and the ‘ou’ sound in ‘sound’, ‘you’, ‘could’ and ‘mould’. They also learned the tricky words ‘once’, ‘friend’, ‘any’ and ‘please’.

In Science the children thought about how different materials are made or where they are from. They realised that although they knew where stone, wood and fabric were from, they wanted to find out how plastic and glass were made and where metal comes from. They wrote their questions and enjoyed searching Google for the answers then they wrote the answers down. Please ask them what they found out!

In maths the Reception children explored weight and its related language such as lighter, heaviest and the Year One children worked out addition and subtraction word problems and their related equations and part part whole diagrams.

Unfortunately Rosie the toy dog got a little wet at break-time and asked Acorn for help to find the best material to cover her next time she is in rain. The children shared their ideas and predictions then tested different materials to see which would be best to keep Rosie dry. They absolutely loved using the pipettes to squirt the water onto the materials! Please ask them what they found out.

Have a great weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 10th February

It’s hailing!

We had to stop our literacy session mid-way because of the sound of what we thought was rain on the conservatory roof! On further inspection, it was hail and the children were beside themselves!

In phonics the Reception children carried on practising reading and writing all the sounds they had learned so far and even had high-frequency word races, with timers! They beat their score from the first time by a whopping 5 seconds – what brilliant sight-readers they are! The Year Ones learned some more alternatives – e.g. the ‘oa’ pronunciation for the ‘ow’ in ‘shadow’,  the spelling of the ‘igh’ sound in ‘spied’, the long and short ‘er’ pronunciation in ‘stern’ (“errrrr”) and ‘letter’ (“uh”) and the short ‘e’ sound of the digraph ‘ea’ as in ‘bread’.

We read the wonderful book, set in Kenya, Handa’s Surprise. The children were divided into three groups and sent off to practise reenacting the story – they loved this freedom and showed such great team skills. They acted with aplomb! We had a message from the office that the author, Eileen Browne, had called and that she wanted Acorn class to rewrite her opener as she wasn’t happy with it. The children loved helping her out and added all sorts of extra information to what Eileen had written, such as the time of day, where the story is set and the weather.

In maths, the Reception children were focussing on consolidating the subtraction learning from last week, writing subtraction number sentences and part part whole diagrams but also extending onto thinking about strategies for subtracting numbers above ten (above the number their fingers can help with!) e.g. using number lines and counting backwards. The Year One children practised number patterns and reasoning skills as these were the areas that came up last week in their assessments as areas to work on.

As it is Internet Safety Week, we discussed keeping safe online. They loved using the coding program Scratch Jnr on the iPads and the Year Ones used the chrome books to access Espresso Coding which involved putting together a series of commands for the witch to chase the queen and to pop balloons!

Have a super half term and we look forward to seeing you on Monday 24th.

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 3rd February

Relax Kids Session

We had the best start to our week this week! Hollie from Relax Kids came to kick-off Children’s Mental Health Week with a fabulously motivating assembly, offering strategies to stay calm, positive, healthy and, in particular, brave. She then had a session with each class, giving the children an opportunity to practise these techniques. The children loved the new ideas and we all almost fell asleep at the end! Please ask your child to show you her finger-breathing and massage techniques.

In phonics the Reception children continued to practise all the sounds they have learned, letter names and reading and writing words with consonant clusters. They also learned the new tricky words ‘come’, ‘some’, ‘like’ and ‘have’. The Year One children learned an alternative ‘i’ sound as in ‘blind’, the alternative ‘o’ sounds as in ‘both’ and ‘gold’, the soft ‘c’ sound as in ‘cell’, the alternative ‘u’ sounds in ‘music’ and ‘bull’ and the soft ‘g’ in ‘giraffe’. They learned the tricky words ‘little’, ‘one’, ‘do’, ‘when’, ‘what’ and ‘out’ – what busy bees!

In maths, the Reception children explored taking away, using the new vocabulary such as ‘minus’ and ‘subtract’. They played games on the interactive TV, used soldier skittles and dice to knock them down and used all sorts of resources to actively take away. They went on to make subtraction stories about teddies and dinosaurs then wrote number sentences and filled in part part whole diagrams. The Year One children completed a mid-year assessment and tried their hardest to tackle some rather tricky questions!

In English we read the super story ‘Monkey Puzzle’ and focussed on the monkey’s feelings, speech bubbles and rhyming words. The children loved looking carefully at the periphery animals in the illustrations and thinking about what they might be saying – they had us all laughing with their ideas! Please ask them about the bat and the spider.

The children retold the classic story of The Three Little Pigs then thought about what materials they would make a house out of. They designed, made, tested (with a hairdryer!) and evaluated their creations. The children are becoming super reviewers!

Have a relaxing weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 27th January

Outdoor ‘Messy Bedrooms’!

What another busy week!

The Reception children practised reading and writing CVCC words such as ‘jump’ and ‘tent’ and we had another big push on finger spaces – they are definitely getting there! The Year One children revised split digraphs (e.g. note what happens to the ‘u’ sound when ‘hug’ has an ‘e’ after it to make ‘huge’). They used their ‘reading eyes’ and made a best bet as to which tricky word is spelt correctly for example ‘sum’ and ‘some’ and ‘thair’ and ‘there’. They learned another alternative ‘ee’ grapheme – ‘ey’ in ‘donkey’ and the two alternative ‘or’ graphemes – ‘au’ as in ‘Autumn’ and ‘aw’ as in ‘yawn’.

In maths the Reception children focussed on estimating and practised counting forwards, backwards and in twos! The Year One children explored patterns in numbers such as counting up and down in twos. Also, they practised using number bond diagrams to help solve word problems.

In RE the children heard the bible story of Martha and Mary – please ask them what they learned from it – be prepared for them to never help again with any housework or cooking as it is more important to spend time with your loved ones!

We had a mini Geography topic covering the Chinese New Year. The children have been so excited about it. They loved the story of the animals crossing the river and were sad for the cat – please ask them about the story. They also enjoyed comparing how the Chinese New Year is celebrated with our own Christmas celebrations – there were many similar traditions but quite a few different ones e.g. dragons in the street and eating dumplings! Their favourite part (“This is the best day ever!”) was when they coloured in and made their own snap dragons and dragon masks. We hope you enjoyed seeing them in the Parents’ Assembly. They also answered the register in Mandarin and were able to read Mandarin numerals 0-10 within one showing – astounding!

Have a great weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 20th January

We make our own Story Sacks!

In phonics this week the Reception children focussed on remembering finger spaces in their own writing. The Year One children learned the digraphs ‘wh’ and ‘ph’, the tricky words ‘said’, ‘have’, ‘so’ and ‘like’ and the three alternative ‘oo’ graphemes, ‘ew’, ‘ue’ and split ‘u’ (as in ‘cube’).

In maths the Reception children had a super time recognising coins. They used the interactive TV, coin stamps, did coin rubbings and were earnest coin detectives, looking REALLY closely at each coin’s shape, size, type of metal as well as looking at any numbers and number words for clues. The Year One children explored numbers to 40 by identifying the tens and ones in each number, comparing numbers by first looking at the tens and working out how much more or less the numbers are.

In English the children finished off the problem and solution of their stories, based around The Snail and the Whale. They then looked at how they could improve their writing next time, with some insightful comments. They were so proud when their first story went up on the Writing Wall!

One of the favourite Let’s Explore activities was to make your own story sack – the children loved looking through each page and hunting round the classroom for objects to fit the page. An abacus, some grass, a yellow teddy and a bucket were just a few of the props they gathered!

In science the children discussed in pairs the reason why: keys are made from metal not fabric, windows are made from glass not metal, scarves are made from fabric not wood and why shelves are made from wood and not fabric. They loved this! It was fun imagining fabric shelves and what would happen to the objects on the shelves!

They heard the story of Jesus and the Taxpayer and discussed how Jesus showed friendship to Zacchaeus by being kind to him and forgiving him. They also started to think about human and physical features to then go for a human and physical feature hunt around Thornford next week!

The highlight of the week was the visit to the Life Education van – they learned about what to take with you on a sleepover at your Gran’s, where each body part is situated inside your body (including the intestines!) and they fell in love with Harold the Giraffe who made a visit into all the classrooms for a stroke!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 13th January

Looking cool at playtime!

In phonics the Reception children carried on revising the alphabet names, they looked at the syllables challenge (well done to all those who thought of ‘hippopotamus’ for the 5-syllable animal), they practised writing sentences with 2-syllable words in, after really slowing down to hear all the many sounds in each word. The Year One children learned the alternative grapheme for the ‘igh’ sound (for example in ‘pie’), the ‘oi’ in ‘boy’ and the ‘er’ sound in ‘girl’. They loved watching the Mr Ed video on the Chromebooks in the ICT Suite, learning about the two alternative sounds the suffix ‘ed’ makes (‘d’ as in ‘called’ and ‘t’ in ‘asked’).

In maths the Reception children explored repeating patterns, using online games on the interactive TV, peg boards, beads, multilink cubes, shapes and many more! They focussed on making patterns by shape, colour and size. The Year One children compared length and height, using language such as shorter than, taller than and longest. They also measured walls and tables using their own body parts! The children then went onto measuring using rulers.

In English, we read the wonderful book ‘The Snail and the Whale’ because many of them had spoken about watching the film at Christmas. They loved hearing the story and joining in with the words. They then created their own story plans, clearly showing the beginning (the main characters and setting), the middle (the problem) and the end (the solution). The children then used post-it notes on their story plans to come up with their own main characters, problem and solution. They had lovely ideas. They started to write the story, using story-telling openers such as ‘One day…’, ‘It was a dark, dark night…’ and the classic ‘Once upon a time…’ They will be continuing with writing their own story next week.

After talking about how they show friendship last week, we read the bible story Jesus and the Storm. We talked about how Jesus showed friendship within this story and wrote about it. In science we focussed on differentiating the object from the material it is made from.

Did you enjoy the assembly as much as the children and we did?! The children absolutely loved performing their alphabet rap in their sunglasses and caps…twice! They were so pleased that they were asked to perform an encore!

Have a lovely weekend

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 6th January

Sorting materials

What a great week back!

The children were brimming with excitement about their Christmases and were keen to tell us and write about their favourite present and what they did on Christmas Day.

The Reception children have now learned all the sounds in Phase 2 and 3 of the Letters and Sounds programme (wow!) so are now onto learning letter names via the fun ‘Alphabet Rap’ and they have been practising reading and writing longer words. Please ask your child how they can work out the number of beats or ‘syllables’ in a word…They also revised the tricky words learned so far. The Year One children are now onto Phase 5 of the Letters and Sounds programme which involves learning alternative spellings (such as the ‘igh’ in ‘tie’ and the ‘oi’ in ‘toy’). They learned ‘ay’, ‘ou’ (as in ‘sound’) and ‘ea’ (as in ‘beach’) and the tricky words ‘ask’, ‘house’ and ‘school’.

In maths, the Reception children explored adding two groups together and even went on to writing addition number sentences or ‘equations’. Some have started on Quick Maths which they do most afternoons with the Year One children! The Year One children had a focus on fluency, using missing number sentences (e.g. 4+?=6 and ?+5=7) – this was a challenge but they enjoyed using ten frames and tiny cubes and number lines to help them. They also started exploring length and height and the related terms and using non-standard units such as paperclips and lolly sticks to measure objects.

In science, the children enjoyed sorting materials into hoops and we had a good talk about where a screwdriver might go as it is metal AND plastic…In RE, we started off the friendship theme by hearing a story about a hedgehog who showed friendship to some other woodland creatures. The children then thought of times they have been a good friend.

Have a great weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 16th December

Xmas Tree PE!

We have had such a fun last week of term!

The nativity performances went really well – the children were brilliant in their different roles. We hope you enjoyed it too.

They loved the class party with all the games and prizes and even a visit and presents from Santa! Even PE was Christmas-themed! Please ask your children what they made on the hall floor…

Thank you for all our cards, presents and kind messages – we almost ran out of time to open them all in front of the children! Have a happy happy Christmas and new year.

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 9th December

Logging in to Numbots!

The children have had a super week! In phonics the Reception children learned the sounds ‘ure’, ‘air’, ‘ear’, ‘oi’ and ‘er’ (with its usual special position in a word and what it often does to the letter before it – please ask them about this!). They also learned the tricky word ‘they’. The Year One children focused on tricky words, letter names and letter formation using soil, grass and sky strips to help them.

In English we wrote a thank you note to Mr Mitchell for the pre-school toys, furniture and books and made a little secret something we can’t tell you about…yet. In maths the Year One children focussed on 2D and 3D shapes, sorting shapes by colour, size and type of shape and using shapes to make repeating patterns. The Reception children explored more and less. Please ask them when we should use the terms ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ and why. We extended on from this by asking them how much more – they lined up the two set of objects next to each other and counted those that didn’t match. We even had a spare session so they explored Singapore maths ‘part-part-whole diagrams’ – they did really well and even filled in their own diagrams linked with two groups of pegs on the visualiser!

The Year One children loved logging onto the new Chromebooks and testing their online maths service ‘Numbots’. Enjoy! While they were in the ICT Suite, the Reception children went on the iPads to play Beebot – the coding robot game.

The highlight of the week was Thornford’s Got Talent. Those who performed were so brave and did brilliantly. Those who watched loved cheering on their friends!

Have a lovely weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 2nd December

Beauty and the Beast

We’ve been around the world this week! We received a letter from the elves saying that Santa had gone missing and asking whether Acorn Class can help. We immediately put on our thinking caps and the children came up with some amazingly creative ways of finding him. We decided to design a brightly coloured poster saying if you see him, call us! The children made the posters, I put lots up that night with the help of my friends across the world. They worked! The next day someone from Africa called the school and Santa is now safe at home in the North Pole. Acorn Class saved Christmas!

This got us thinking about the North Pole, England and Africa and we looked at atlases and a globe. The children also loved writing their Christmas lists! We hope you find it useful having a photocopy in their Reading Folders.

The Reception children learned both pronunciations of ‘oo’ (long as in moon, short as in book) and ‘ur’, ‘ar’, ‘oa’ and the tricky word ‘my’. The Year One children practised putting sound buttons and digraph and trigraph lines under words, revised the double letter in words with ‘ff’, ‘ll’, ‘ss’ and ‘zz’ at the end, they explored sentence substitution (e.g. The sheep are in the shed/farmyard/field.) and suffixes such as ‘er’ and ‘est’ (fresh, fresher, freshest).

In maths, the Reception children were learning about length and using the related language such as short, shorter, shortest and long, longer and longest. They started off comparing lengths, then used non-standard units such as multilink cubes to measure the length of everyday objects then some even used rulers! The Year One children loved exploring the properties of 3D shapes and looking at the 2D shapes on their faces.

We had a challenge set by a friend of mine “Are the oldest children always the tallest?” The children predicted what they thought might be the answer then they all lined up and I told them the name of the oldest child in the class and then we found out…please ask your child what we found out!

The highlight of the week was the performance of Beauty and the Beast by Westend in Schools – the children came back pink-faced and wide-eyed!

Have a super weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 25th November

Year One presenting their homework findings (Homes – Past and Present)

We’ve had another bonanza week!

In phonics the Reception children revised the sounds sh, ch, th and ng, ready to learn some new digraphs next week. They also learned the tricky word ‘you’. The Year One children explored split digraphs further, high frequency and tricky words and nonsense words (which ensure children use their phonic knowledge not sight-reading knowledge, ready for the phonics check in June).

In maths, the Reception children had a super time exploring 2D shape and very quickly went onto to learn about pentagons, hexagons and octagons! Please ask them what we imagined or drew to help us remember how many sides and corners these three have. The Year One children explored subtraction within 20, counting backwards, by taking away from the ones then by taking away from the ten.

In RE we created a story plan of the Christmas story and, using story language (Once upon a time, unfortunately, luckily and finally), we rewrote the story. The children were given a Golden Coin for their hard work and progress in writing – they did so well.

We discussed the meaning of gifts and talked and wrote about what we would give baby Jesus if we were visiting him. The Year One children did so well with their history research homework (thank you for your help with this) – what did people years ago have in their homes compared with modern homes? The Reception children loved hearing what their Year One classmates had found out. Please ask them about chicken nuggets…

Have a lovely weekend.

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 18th November

Visit from Sherborne Library

We’ve had a bumper week this week! Two members of Sherborne Library visited the school and read stories and sang action songs with Acorn and Beech children then gave an assembly to the whole school. The children loved it and I hope they are badgering you to join the library if they haven’t already done so!

In phonics the Reception children learned the ‘ai’, ‘ee’, ‘or’ and ‘igh’ sounds and the tricky word ‘was’.  The Year One children focussed on high frequency words and split digraphs (e.g. see how the ‘a’ sound in ‘made’ changes from the ‘a’ sound in ‘mad’ with the addition of the ‘e’).

In maths, the Reception children explored ordering numbers and using number patterns to help them do so. The Year One children were thinking about one more and one fewer, adding by counting on from the largest number and adding two numbers by making ten then adding the remainder – the ten frames and cubes have been used a lot this week, much to the enjoyment of the children!

We’ve been busy learning our lines and songs for the nativity and we discussed the Christmas story and ordered the main parts.

We’ve had a big science focus this week, starting with using our taste buds to determine whether foods were salty or sweet. Next the children used their fingers to feel the different textures of objects and materials then wrote the lovely describing words they came up with (e.g. scratchy fossil, squidgy jelly). The highlight of the week must be the making of popcorn (or rather, the eating of popcorn!) The children loved discussing what the kernels look, smell, feel and sound like (I didn’t make them taste the kernels!) then, thinking about how those changed after they were cooked. They watched how to make popcorn, then ate some then wrote a recipe to show what order the different aspects needed to be done in. Please ask them about ‘bossy verbs’!

Have a great weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 11th November

Enjoying the Reading and Reflection Area

Acorn loves spiders! We have had a super time researching and writing about spiders – we used Google, a book and we asked humans to find out facts about them. Please ask your child what spiders eat, what eats spiders and how big the biggest spider is (you might want to think twice next time you have your dinner…).

In maths, the Reception children focussed on practising number formation from 0-9. The Year One children explored numbers to 20 by grouping by ten then looking at the ones. They used ‘Grouping Hands’ and ‘Counting Fingers’ – please ask them to demonstrate! The children practised their teen-number recognition, both the numerals and number names/words, and ordering numbers to 20. They also used the terms ‘more than/greater than’ and learned the difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’.

In phonics the Reception children learned ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘ng’ and the two sounds for ‘th’ (short as in ‘that’ and long as in ‘thistle’) and the tricky words ‘me’, ‘we’ and ‘be’. The Year One children learned the tricky words ‘were’, ‘there’, ‘little’ and ‘one’, as well as practising reading and writing words with consonant clusters such as ‘damp’ and ‘trip’.

We researched the artist Piet Mondrian – please ask your child to say his name how the computer told them to i.e. thick Dutch accent! We looked at his ‘Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue’ and discussed which shapes and colours we could see, how it made us feel and what it reminded us of. The children came up with some wonderful observations and comments.

They are loving learning the nativity songs and the Year One children are doing well already with their lines. We’re all very excited!

Have a smashing weekend.

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 4th November

Body percussion

We have been using our bodies even more than usual this week! We talked about what ‘body percussion’ means and what parts of our bodies we can use to make noises, other than our mouths. Then we watched a video of some older children using their bodies to make sounds and beats – the children jumped up to copy them! Here is the video – try and keep up!

In phonics the Reception children learned the final two single letter sounds (‘y’ and ‘z’) and their second digraph (‘qu’). They also waved their tricky fingers at ‘he’ and ‘she’. The Year One children thought about using mnemonics (memory aids) to remember how to spell tricky words such as ‘because’ (big elephants can always understand small elephants) and explored the words have, like, some and come.

We finished off the last chapter of The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. We sat with our fingers crossed hoping that Plop, the baby barn owl, would like the dark in the end – we ended up whooping with joy! The children wrote about the facts they had learned within the book – please ask your child about badgers’ nose stripes, a special group of stars and which owls say ‘twit-twoo’ and ‘eeeek’. They also wrote about the human characters in the story and how they had described the dark to Plop.

In maths, all the children explored positional language – the Reception children used language such as behind, near, opposite and the Year One children used ordinal language such as first, eighth as well as left and right.

We discussed the meaning behind Remembrance Day and had a super PE session dancing in a string of movements to dance music. Miss Ford and I rather enjoyed dancing along with the children!

We hope you enjoyed seeing the children’s shakers that they designed, made and evaluated. I hope there wasn’t too much flying rice!

Enjoy your weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 21st October

Feature hunting around Thornford

We’ve had a lovely four-day week!

In phonics the Reception children have learned the sounds j, v, x and w. The Year Ones have carried on writing words containing consonant clusters (e.g. lamp and hand) and discussed syllables – please ask them to tell you words with 1 syllable, 2… all the way up to 5 syllables! They have also focussed on the letter names, using the wonderful alphabet rap.

In English the children have heard (most of) the story ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’. Plop, a baby barn owl, is not only afraid of the dark but completely adorable and really funny. The children have loved hearing about his adventures. We’ve been thinking about characters and settings in stories.

In maths the Reception children have focussed on number recognition. The Year One children have finished off the mini-topic on subtraction by solving number problems involving taking away and thinking of their own number stories involving frogs on lily-pads. They have been thinking about the relationship between adding and taking away and the ‘family of number facts’ (e.g. 4+1=5, 1+4=5, 5-1=4, 5-4=1). It’s been hard work but they’ve enjoyed the challenge!

The highlight of the week was having a walk round Thornford, looking for features. They had their eagle-eyes switched on and they spotted all the things they were hunting for around the village!

Have a lovely long half term and we look forward to seeing you on the first Monday back (Year One children, see you on the Tuesday, after your Montacute House trip on the Monday!)

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 14th October

Road Safety

What a wonderful week, full of special nurses, proving we are humans and rice krispie spiders!

In phonics the Reception children learned the sounds h, f/ff, b and l/ll and the tricky words ‘no’ and ‘go’. The Year One children finished off revising the Phase 3 sounds of the Letters and Sounds programme.

The children loved learning about the special World War One nurse, Edith Cavell. They did some hot-seating as Edith, an English soldier, a German soldier and her vicar father. They did some gorgeous role-playing dressing up as nurses and mending their friends’ and staff injuries and curing their illnesses!

In maths the Reception children practised counting – two children counted beyond 100! Also touch-counting skills with larger numbers. The Year One children explored a variety of ways to subtract.

The Reception children learned how to start up the computers and log on, using the mouse. The Year One children used the new Chromebook laptops, logging on, manipulating the school website, minimising and maximising the screen and signing out, all using the touch-pad. They loved it!

During a different session, we tried to log in to our new Music Scheme and there was a security check on it, making sure we weren’t robots. The children helped me spot the squares in the pictures that had traffic lights or bikes etc – this went on for some time, with lots of checks and the children found it hilarious how it wasn’t accepting we were humans!

One of the highlights of the week was having a visit from a unique spider one playtime – it had long hair-like legs and a body that looked like a rice krispie! The children loved discussing it and watching it move around.

A policeman came in to talk to the children about keeping safe on the roads. It turns out the Green Cross Code is still in existence! Stop, Look, Listen, Think. Please ask your children which side of the pavement adults should stand if they are walking with children. Also, what adults should do with a child’s hand if they are walking down a pavement!

Have a brilliant weekend and keep safe!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 7th October

Ride-on toy fun!

What a busy week!

In phonics the Reception children learned ‘ck’, ‘e’, ‘u’ and ‘r’ and the tricky words ‘the’ and ‘to’. The Year One children revised the sounds ‘er’, ‘ure’ and ‘air’.

In maths, the Reception children practised number recognition of teen numbers, early addition skills and ‘one more’ and making their own mathematical marks. The Year One children made addition number stories using objects and pictures then put them into equations (number sentences/sums) and part, part, whole diagrams. Also they started working on subtraction by the ‘crossing out’ method.

In English, we continued with the poetry theme from last week, learning some more poems and thinking about rhyming words. The children evaluated their junk models from the last couple of weeks – they were very thoughtful and discerning about their self-reviews! We revised what Harvest Festival is and handed round four different vegetables, using touch, smell and sight to explore them, and came up with amazing adjectives to describe them. The children also created some beautiful collage vegetables. We hope you enjoyed looking at them and hearing the adjectives during the Harvest Festival service. They did brilliantly!

Have a super weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 30th September

Stick Insect poem

We’ve had a very poetic week this week! The children absolutely loved learning the poems for the Poetry Celebration on Thursday. They came up with wonderful actions to help them learn the verses. And what a performance it was! They are all very excited to show you all at the next KS1 Assembly on 18th October.

In phonics the Reception children learned the sounds ‘o’, ‘c’ and ‘k’ and revised the tricky word ‘I’ – they are really coming along with their blending. The Year One children revised the digraphs ‘ow’ and ‘oi’ and the trigraph ‘ear’ – they had fun coming up with some endings for ‘ear’ such as ‘muffs’ and ‘plugs’.

In maths the Reception children practised number formation using peg boards and trays of sand, matching number cards and conkers and finding totals of two groups using a Singapore method – they loved this. Please ask them for the part-part-whole actions (including the mouth shape for ‘whole’!) The Year One children matched part, part, whole diagrams with number sentences (sums), added two numbers by counting on and began to explore inverse operations (7=5+?) using teddies and balancing scales!

The children watched a video on Harvest Festival and discussed what it is, how we celebrate it and why. We also had a super time exploring our new music scheme ‘Music Express’ – there were some chants, songs and other fun and active activities. The children also had some reflection time – they were shown an autumnal scene and asked to sit quietly while they looked at it. After a while, they were asked what they can see, what it reminds them of and how it makes them feel. They came up with some gorgeous reflections.

Have a great weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 23rd September

Junk Modelling

“There are 7 cubes in total, how many am I covering up?”

What a fun, glittery week!

The Reception children learned three new sounds – ‘m’, ‘d’ and ‘g’ and revised the tricky word ‘I’. The Year One children revised the digraphs ‘ng’, ‘or’, ‘ur’ and ‘ar’ and the tricky words they have learned so far.

In English, the children learned instructional language, using ‘bossy verbs’ and enjoyed thinking about how to explain to an alien exactly what to do to get ready for school and each tiny step of brushing their teeth.

In maths, the Reception children looked at number lines and practised touch-counting, matching numbers to objects and making up number stories with dinosaurs, toy soldiers, teddies and World of Warrior characters. The Year One children experimented with number bonds (pairs of numbers that make another number (e.g. 1+9=10 5+5=10 etc) and practised number formation and reading and writing number words (e.g. two, eight).

In Science, they discussed how to keep themselves healthy and in RE how also to look after God’s amazing world. Please forgive us if you get nagged to turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, to walk not drive and to turn off the lights/TV when you’re not in the room!

The highlight of the week was when the children chose an item from the junk modelling area and designed what they wanted to make then made it…with a lot of glitter! Mrs Dennett said “The classroom looks like a rainbow has burst!”

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 16th September

Park fun!

The children have rocketed with their confidence this week – it’s lovely to see! The Reception children learned the sounds ‘p’, ‘i’ and ‘n’ and their first tricky word ‘I’. Please ask them if they can remember the tricky word song and actions! The Year One children revised the sounds ‘ee’, ‘ai’, ‘oa’, ‘igh’ and the two pronunciations of ‘oo’ (e.g. in book compared to food) – please ask them what they needed to do with the blue cuckoo eggs! They also revised the tricky words from last week.

In English we read the gorgeous book, The Smartest Giant in Town, and the children matched the animals and the items of giant’s clothing, thinking carefully about the words ‘problem’ and ‘solution’. The highlight of the English sessions was when the children hot-seated as the characters, building on the activities last week. As soon as they held the tie or sock (with diamonds up the side, of course!) or shirt, they transformed into the characters.

In maths both the Reception children and Year One children focussed on more and less and comparing numbers to varying degrees, using different numbers and language!

In science the children labelled the body and in computing the children were thrilled to use the iPads to take photos. We showed the photos to the children afterwards and it was hilarious what they had captured!

The highlight of the whole week was the Eco-walk and park visit. The children were amazingly behaved and had a super time!

Have a great weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 9th September

Tummy time!

This first full week has been a fun one! The Reception children learned their first sounds ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’ via the lovely Sidney the Snake – they are starting to use their robot arms to sound out and blend sounds together. The Year One children started revising the digraphs they learned in Reception last year, namely ‘sh’, ‘ch’ and the two pronunciations of ‘th’ and also the tricky words such as ‘I’ and ‘go’.

The children listened beautifully to (the 50-year old story) The Tiger Who Came to Tea and some were brave enough to do some ‘hot seating’ – please ask your child what this is. They did brilliantly! The Reception children explored the maths resources, focussing on counting backwards and forwards, number recognition, writing numbers and touch-counting. The Year One children started their first formal ‘Maths No Problem!’ sessions and loved them. These were counting backwards and forwards, learning to read and write number words and the concept of zero.

We went on a senses walk where the children were in teams, finding as many things they could hear/see/smell/touch (not taste!) on the school field then reporting back to their class friends. They also heard the Christian creation story via the book ‘Wonderful Earth!’ and its amazing illustrations and vocabulary. They had some paired reading time, lying on their tummies – as well as being fun, this helps their core, gross motor skills and fine motor skills.

The children also loved drawing a picture of themselves and writing their names (Year Ones wrote about themselves) for the Writing Wall. Reception parents, please look out for this on Tuesday at the Reception Parents’ Information Evening. We look forward to seeing you there.

Have a super weekend!

Acorn Team

News from week beginning 2nd September

What a wonderful first few days!

The children have settled in remarkably well and have all made lots of friends. They played some name-learning games, played on the iPads in pairs, decided on some class rules for our Class Charter display, played some phonics games on the interactive TV, took their pencils for a colourful walk, played some counting games, sang some songs, listened to some lovely stories and the Reception children had their first school circle time talking about their favourite part of the summer holiday.

Enjoy your weekend together and we look forward to seeing you all on Monday!

Acorn Team


Acorn Class Information

Homework and Home Learning

Things you could do at home to help your child’s phonic knowledge and number skills

Reception children have sheets sent home on Fridays to enhance their learning of sounds at home. They can colour, paint or collage the pictures and practise writing the letters. It is important that the children can recognise words that contain these letters. A good activity is using magazines, catalogues and cereal boxes, and finding the individual sounds.

Ask your child to regularly write their name and a caption when they have done a picture at home. Encourage children to make menus, shopping lists, instructions and recounts.

Play ‘I spy’ focussing on words that begin with the phonemes (sounds) they are learning or play ‘Treasure Hunt’ – children can earn a point for each object they bring to you or show you beginning with a specific letter! Have fun.

Count from 1- 20. Try not to miss out some of the tricky ‘teen’ numbers! Look for numbers in the environment and add or subtract using the environment around you.

Watch an episode of ‘Alphablocks’ on the cbeebies channel or on the website.

The following website – is a good introduction to the phonemes your child is learning. The videos you may want to watch first can be located under ‘Prologue’. “The Phonemes of the English Alphabet Code” and “The Phonemes of the Alphabet”.

Reading Rewards

We are very keen for children to become regular readers and to encourage them to read at home we use a reward scheme. Every time your child reads at home with you please write it in their Home Link Book. If your child reads at home 3 (or more) times each week for a term, they will receive a special prize such as a Thornford pencil, rubber, gel pen etc.

Ideas for talking about books with your child

As your child gets older you tend to ‘hear’ them read less and less because they become more fluent. However, it is important that the children continue to develop their comprehension and reasoning skills, through talking about the books they are reading. These discussions will count towards your child’s reading reward too, so please note them in their Home Link Book too.

Here are some ideas to help:


1) After they have read a book, ask them to find their favourite part

  • Ask them what happened before this?
  • Why did they like it?
  • What do they think will happen next?
  • How do they think the issue/problem will be resolved?

2) Ask the children about their favourite character in the book. Then ask them if they have read any other books with similar characters? Or ask them if they know characters from other books that are completely different.


  • Is the information presented clearly?
  • Do they think the layout is interesting? Would they lay it out differently?
  • What information did they find out from the text?


Reception Parent Information

We use the Letters and Sounds programme for phonics which involves learning actions alongside the sounds. This helps the children remember their sounds more effectively. For more information, please visit


Phonics video and website

Please click here for information on how to say the sounds



Year 1 Parent Information

Phonics Information for Parents of Year One Children

Please find below some information taken from the Government guidance on the Year 1 phonics screening check.

What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The phonics screening check is a quick and easy assessment of your child’s phonics knowledge. It helps your school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress. The check takes place during the Summer term.

How does the check work?

  • Your child will sit with a teacher he or she knows and will be asked to read 40 words aloud.
  • Your child may have read some of the words before, while others will be completely new.
  • The check normally takes just a few minutes to complete and there is no time limit. If your child is struggling, the teacher will stop the check. The check is carefully designed not to be stressful for your child.

Contact Us

For more information or to get in touch:

01935 872706
or by Email