Acorn Class

Welcome to Acorn Class
Reception & Year 1

Teacher Gemma Cheyne
Teaching Assistant Bridget Dennett

Acorn Termly Booklet – Summer 2019

Year 1 Parent Information

Spellings (for spelling test Friday 24th May) individualised spellings based on the words the children wrote wrongly in previous tests

Homework (due Friday 24th May) writing activity – describing their favourite part of Gore Farm and why

News from week beginning 13th May

Gore Farm trip

We have had a very different week this week – full of New Hall fun with our Beech Year One friends and a fabulous trip to Gore Farm.

Due to the older children having SATs, we did lots of exciting things in the New Hall Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, including playing games on the enormous interactive TV, word-searches, colour-by-number sheets (lots of concentration faces with this one!), paired reading, listening to stories, playing ‘Duck Duck Goose’, number challenges, singing songs and writing about our grandparents – to name but a few!

The trip to Gore Farm was wonderful and the children not only had lots of fun, they learned huge amounts with the hands-on activities. Their recounts on Gore Farm were so beautifully written, they were obviously very motivated!

Have a lovely weekend!

Acorn Team

News from week beginning 7th May

Planting demo in Show and Tell!

What a busy week! The children learned more about plants, focussing on edible plants and edible parts of plants. Please ask your children about this. One child suggested that we could eat a venus fly-trap and we laughed about the flytrap maybe eating US!

In phonics the Reception children revised all the sounds and tricky words they have learned so far and practised writing sentences using consonant clusters (e.g. flair and bring). The Year Ones practised reading nonsense words (which force them to use their phonic knowledge to decipher them). They learned the alternative ‘r’ graphemes (as in berry and wrap) and practised writing on soil, grass and sky sheets, which encourage the children to write the letters’ tummies, tall parts and hanging parts in the right places!

In Maths, the Reception children learned to tell the time, using analogue clocks and the Year One children learned about tens and ones using numbers between 40-100.

We went for another natural treasure hunt, this time looking for specific things such as leaves, feathers, twigs and snail shells. We then came up with describing words for them which fed into lovely acrostic poems.

The children learned all about the Jewish special day of the week, Shabbat, in particular why Jewish people celebrate it and how.

Well done the children who had practised counting in ones, twos, fives and tens – all the children tried their hardest with this and were very proud of themselves.

Have a super weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 29th April

Plant hunt!

We have had a fabulous week, learning and writing about plants! We went on a plant hunt around the school grounds and used the internet on iPads to find out facts about a chosen plant. Please ask your child about the leaf, stem, petals and roots’ jobs.

In Phonics the Reception children learned the tricky words ‘do’, ‘when’, ‘out’ and ‘what’ and practised writing words with consonant clusters such as ‘chest’ and ‘paint’. The Year One children revised the alternative ‘ow’ grapheme, ‘ou’, as in ‘around’ and ‘fountain’. They also learned the tricky words ‘thought’, ‘through’, ‘work’ and ‘mouse’ and carefully considered which parts of the words were the trickiest.

In Maths the Reception children learned about place value (tens and ones) and used games on the computers, dienes apparatus, ten frames and Numicon plates to investigate place value. The Year One children learned about halving and quartering shapes and objects.

Later in the week we also went for a natural material treasure hunt and made sculptures on the playground with the sticks, leaves, petals, stones, buds, grass and the odd welly boot!

Have a lovely long weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 22nd April

Brainstorming plants!

We’ve had a great week, full of Easter news!

In phonics, the Reception children learned the tricky words were, little, one and there and practised writing words containing consonant clusters such as chimp and toast. The Year One children revised the alternative ‘oo’ graphemes (as in stew, flute, statue) and the alternative ‘n’ graphemes (as in design, knight, dinner). Also, the Year One children revised handwriting families and vowels and consonants.

In English we talked about our Easter break, wrote about our favourite part then looked at each piece of writing and thought about how it could be improved. The children love this as they get to come up to the front and have all the attention!

In Maths, the Year One children learned sharing and division. The Reception children learned about 3D shapes. In Science the children brainstormed in teams all the plants they know then shared them with the class. We loved the fact that we have two children with flower names in our class!

The children were very excited to go on the computers and use the mouse to create their own plants on the software Revelation Natural Art. We also started thinking about what our favourite day of the week is to then link next week with the weekly Jewish celebration, Shabbat.

Have a super weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 1st April

Easter egg hunt!

We have had a fabulous week!

The Year One children learned the alternative ‘oa’ graphemes (oa spelling in shadow, won’t and throne), the alternative ‘u’ grapheme (in love, glove and shove) and the alternative ‘m’ graphemes (in swimming and thumb). The Reception children learned to read the tricky words ‘some’, ‘come’, ‘have’ and ‘like’ and write ‘was’ and ‘you’. They also continued to read and spell words with consonant clusters such as crash and float.

In Maths the Year Ones did some fun tests to assess their counting (forwards and backwards), reading and writing of numerals and words, as well as number bonds and missing number  problems (e.g. 5+?=8 and ?-3=10). The Reception children explored doubling, using Numicon plates, weighing scales, koalas, fingers and mirrors! Please ask them if you can only double the number of objects…can you double the number of claps, the height of things, the length of things, the volume of water in a cup?

They had a super time going round to the other classes, learning about the different stages of the Easter story, during Easter Journey morning. They also had a great time on the Eco-Walk – thank you to those who were able to join us.

The children sang their hearts out during the Easter service and again, when we put ‘Million Dreams’ on the interactive TV for a treat! They loved searching for the Easter eggs the Easter bunny had put out in the playground.

Have a wonderful Easter break and see you on Tuesday 23rd April.

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 25th March

Capacity fun!

The Acorns have had such a great week, full of sunshiny outdoor learning! The Reception children experimented with containers in the sand and water and used multilink cubes and pasta to explore capacity and volume. The Year Ones had fun looking at arrangements of real cookies and toy soldiers to learn about rows and columns then went on to revise doubling.

The children had a lovely time hearing and discussing the story The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch, designing and making their own disgusting sandwiches (I was put off my lunch with some of their ideas!), dressing up as the main characters, Mr and Mrs Grinling, and rewriting the start of the story (they will continue to write the rest next week).

In phonics the Reception children learned the tricky words ‘said’ and ‘so’ and practised spelling words with consonant clusters (e.g. lamp, dust). The Year One children explored word endings such as ing, ed and er and were given the challenge of punctuating unpunctuated sentences.

The Year One children joined Beech children in the new hall for a fun and informative talk from the NSPCC and we investigated which material would make the best superhero cape – please ask your child which out of foil, paper or fabric and how we decided.

Have a lovely weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 18th March

All families are wonderful!

We had a super week! We had a visit from a lady who read a story, showed us a PowerPoint presentation and taught us a song about how families are all different but wonderful! The children had a chance to share who was in their family. They then drew a picture and labelled the members of their family.

We had a really fun day on Wednesday (International Day of Happiness), starting with a morning assembly which included dancing to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell! The children then talked about what made them happy and wrote these things in their Happiness Books. One of the most important lessons was how making other people (or pets!) happy, makes us happy too.

In Maths the Year One children continued learning about multiplication and grouping. The Reception children learned about halving numbers.

In Phonics, the Year One children learned the alternative graphemes for the ‘igh’ sound (as in drive, sky, fried, find) and the ‘f’ sound (as in cliff, phone, rough). Also we discussed what happens to the meaning of a word when it starts with ‘un’. Thank you to the parents who were able to come to the YR phonics session on Thursday – I hope you enjoyed learning a few ways that they learn and watching them interacting with their peers. The Reception children continued learning the letter names via the alphabet rap, looking at two-syllable words and practising writing independently.

Linking with their learning about Palm Sunday, the children talked about then drew and labelled how they would celebrate if Jesus came to their town or village – this included things like waving flags, giving Jesus and the donkey some fruit and doing gymnastics!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 11th March

Red Nose Day!

What a week! The children have watched a pizza-making demonstration from Sherborne cafe, The Bake Out, then made their own pizzas with the kind help from some parents. They have had a super Red Nose Day and learned all about why we have Red Nose Day.

The children also had fun describing materials and talking with their partners about why keys are metal, not fabric, why windows are made from glass rather than wood and why socks are made from fabric rather than metal. Please ask them for some reasons!

In phonics, the Year One children were looking at the alternative sounds the ‘ew’ digraph makes (listen carefully to the ‘ew’ sound in new and blew), the alternative spelling for the sound ‘ai’ (ate, tail, say, eight, lady and prey) and the alternative spelling for the phoneme ‘c’ (cat, lick, kit, box, school and queen). They also thought carefully about the beats and spellings in the singles and plurals of words like frog versus words like church). The YR children learned the new tricky word ‘all’ and continued learning about syllables. We came up with words containing 1 syllable to 5 – please ask your child the two 5-syllable words we thought of! They were very chuffed!

In Maths the YR children learned about time – the days of the week, months of the year and used stopwatches, egg timers and counting to time various activities. The Y1 children learned about calculating addition and subtraction word problems, including multiplication problems, or ‘groups of’. They loved making up their own multiplication stories involving party bags and different numbers of bouncy balls in each bag.

In English the children planned then independently wrote their own fantasy stories, involving finding a magic pebble. Before writing, the children set their own targets (e.g. finger spaces, writing on the lines) then had the chance to show off their work on the visualiser, with their friends saying what they think would improve their work. The children were proud to show their work and took the advice with aplomb! We are delighted with their progress.

Have a super weekend!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 4th March

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory performance

Another very busy week in Acorn Class this week…

In phonics this week the Reception children learnt the tricky word ‘her’ and we started to explore two syllable words, for example farmyard. We talked about how many claps are in the word and then practised reading and writing different two syllable words. In Year One the children took part in a practise Phonics Check in preparation for the real thing in June and so that we can see areas that they need to revise.

In Maths the Year One children used apparatus like cubes or counters and pictures to solve word problems such as: “Isabelle has 12 cakes but Sakina has 5 more, how many does Sakina have altogether?” In Reception the children were learning about weight and in particular using the words heavier and lighter to compare the weight of different objects.

In English we researched different materials including wood, metal, rock and plastic. We thought of questions to ask about the materials for example we wanted to find out how metal is made and then we researched the answer to our questions on the iPads. We then created a non-fiction page using a photo of a material, an interesting fact about it, a heading and a label and we are all starting to independently sound out words to write them down, which is brilliant.

In other news we thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating pancakes on Tuesday afternoon in the New Hall and as you can see from the picture the children loved taking part in the Charlie and the Chocolate factory dance workshop and performing for those of you who were able to come to the assembly today.

Have a wonderful weekend.

The Acorn Team


News from week beginning 25th February

Matisse Snails

This week in phonics, the Reception children had their final revision week, focussing on the sounds air, ear, ure and er. The children loved practising the alphabet rap again! The Year One children focussed on the ‘a’ grapheme (compare the ‘a’ sound in splash, bacon, fast and want), the ‘y’ grapheme (yes, by, pyramid, happy), the ‘ch’ grapheme (church, school, chef) and the ‘ou’ grapheme (sound, you, could, mould). They also learned some tricky words (different, any, eyes, friends, once, please).

In Maths the Year Ones were revising some concepts that they struggled with in their mid-year review – such as number patterns and missing numbers problems. The Reception children were learning to record using marks they can interpret and explain – this recording took the form of pictures, part-part-whole diagrams and number sentences.

In English the children finished off their information writing, recounting the Grace Darling story. They really are coming on so well with their writing – confidence-wise and ability-wise!

The children also put wheels on their superhero cars. We’re hoping to show you the finished products at the parents assembly this coming week. They created Matisse-inspired collage snails – we’re hoping to put these on display, in the Design and Technology area outside the classroom, for all to admire! Another highlight was watching in awe as the Gryphon children performed their music roadshow for the school. What an inspiration those older children were!

Have a super weekend!

The Acorn Team


News from week beginning 11th February

Steve Clifford story-telling

In phonics the Reception children started to learn the alphabet rap (letter names rather than sounds) and revised the sounds oo, ow and oi. In Year One the children learnt the alternative oa sound ow as in snow, the alternative igh sound as in pie and talked about what the term ‘punctuation’ means and when to use a . , ? ! and … in their writing.

In English the children learnt about Grace Darling and started to write historical recounts about how she bravely saved 9 men and women when their boat crashed into some rocks in the sea outside the lighthouse that she lived in.

In Maths the Year One children enjoyed completing a review of the work that they have done in their Maths No Problem textbooks so far and the Reception children learnt about subtraction by playing skittles, making up their own subtraction number stories and playing a mental maths train game on the computers.

The highlight of the week was when the author, Steve Clifford, visited and answered questions about himself, did a workshop with the Year Ones and told a story and sang a song with the Reception children. The children were enthralled by the real life author!

We hope you all have a wonderful half term and look forward to seeing you soon!

The Acorn Team

News from week beginning 4th February

Poetry Reciting Celebration


In phonics the Reception children revised the sounds oa, oo, ar and ur and all the tricky words learned so far. The Year One children learned the alternative sounds for the grapheme ‘i’ (compare the i sound in milk and remind) and the alternative o sound (compare the o sound in hot and both) and the two alternative sounds for the u grapheme (compare the u sound in plug, unicorn and pudding!). They also learned about vowels and the rule when c or g is followed by an e, i or y (they make the sounds s and j respectively).

In English the children wrote a recount of their snowy weekend then looked through and self-assessed their writing. They came up with their own writing targets to try to remember each time they write. They learned their poems for the Reciting and Debating Celebration – we hope you enjoyed their performances at assembly!

In Maths the Reception children were focussing on estimating (‘clever guessing’) and the Year One children were using tens and ones tables and Base Ten apparatus to help them with their understanding and writing of numbers more than 20.

We have started making our superhero cars – thank you for all the boxes!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The 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